Thrombospondin-1, endothelium and systemic vascular tone

Cristhiaan D. Ochoa, Brian W. Fouty, Charles A. Hales

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Evaluation of: Bauer EM, Qin Y, Miller TW et al.: Thrombospondin-1 supports blood pressure by limiting eNOS activation and endothelial dependent vasorelaxation. Cardiovasc. Res. 88, 471-481 (2010). Several lines of evidence, both in vivo and ex vivo, suggest that thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) is important in maintaining systemic vascular tone. Recently published papers demonstrate that TSP-1 can inhibit vascular smooth muscle relaxation by interfering with the interaction between nitric oxide (NO) and soluble guanylyl cyclase, providing a possible mechanism of action to explain this observation. While these in vitro experiments in vascular smooth muscle cells were provocative, it is not clear how such a large protein circulating in the plasma could cross the intact endothelial basal membrane and regulate NO/cGMP signaling in smooth muscle in vivo. This raised the question of whether TSP-1 could modulate NO/cGMP signaling through another mechanism. Herein, we evaluate a recently published paper by Bauer and colleagues that examined whether TSP-1 could exert vasoactive effects without directly accessing the vascular smooth muscle. In their studies they found that TSP-1 could inhibit the NO/cGMP signaling pathway through an alternate mechanism: inhibiting the activation of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS), and therefore NO production in endothelial cells. These findings, combined with previous results from these investigators, suggest that TSP-1 can blunt NO/cGMP signaling through two different mechanisms: inhibiting NO production in endothelial cells by preventing the agonist-induced influx of Ca2+ required to activate endothelial NO synthase and blunting the ability of endothelial-derived NO to activate soluble guanylyl cyclase in vascular smooth muscle cells. The importance of these two pathways in supporting systemic and pulmonary vascular tone in health and disease is unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-172
Number of pages4
JournalFuture Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • endothelium
  • nitric oxide
  • pulmonary hypertension
  • smooth muscle
  • thrombospondin-1
  • vasoconstriction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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