Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Faraci, Frank M

First Committee Member

Heistad, Donald D

Second Committee Member

Lamping, Kathryn G

Third Committee Member

Baumbach, Gary L

Fourth Committee Member

Usachev, Yuriy


Angiotensin II (Ang II) promotes vascular disease and hypertension in part by the formation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, oxidative stress and inflammation. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is a transcription factor known to play key roles in cytokine signaling and growth in immune cells. We tested the hypothesis that STAT3 plays an essential role in Ang II-induced vascular dysfunction and hypertension. Responses of carotid arteries from C57BL6 mice were examined in vitro after 22-hour incubation with vehicle or Ang II (10 nM) in the presence or absence of a small molecule inhibitor of STAT3 activation, S3I-201. The endothelium-dependent agonist acetylcholine (Ach) produced relaxation in arteries treated with vehicle and the response was inhibited by ~50% by Ang II (P<0.01). S3I-201 (10 πM) co-incubation prevented the Ang II-induced dysfunction. Relaxation to nitroprusside, an endothelium-independent agonist, was not altered in any group. Ang II increased vascular superoxide more than 2-fold (P<0.05) measured by chemiluminescence. S3I-201 (10 πM) prevented the Ang II induced increase of superoxide. Similar findings were obtained with STATTIC, a second small molecule inhibitor of STAT3 activation. In contrast to these findings, lipopolysaccharide (0.5 πg/ml)-induced endothelial dysfunction was not altered by S3I-201. Blood pressure and responses of carotid arteries and small resistance arteries within the brain were examined in C57BL6 mice with either saline or Ang II (1000 ng/kg/min) infused for 14 days via osmotic minipump, which were also treated with dimethyl sulfoxide (vehicle) or S3I-201 (5 mg/kg, IP, every two days). Infusion with Ang II increased systolic blood pressure compared to saline-infused animals (155±2 and 112±2 mmHg, respectively; P<0.001). S3I-201 reduced pressure slightly in saline infused mice but protected against Ang II-induced increase in pressure at 14 days (102±2 and 114±3 mmHg, respectively). Following systemic treatment with Ang II, carotid artery relaxation responses to Ach were significantly impaired compared to vehicle infused mice (72±3% and 101±1%, respectively, P<0.05). S3I-201 treatment significantly prevented Ang II-induced impairment (94±4%, P<0.05). Ang II treated mice exhibited 55% impaired dilator responses to Ach in small resistance arteries within the brain studied in vitro and S3I-201 treatment prevented most of this impairment (P<0.05). Vasorelaxation to nitroprusside was not altered in any group. In summary, these findings provide the first evidence that STAT3 plays an essential role in Ang II-induced vascular dysfunction and hypertension. Targeting STAT3 with small molecule inhibitors or other approaches may have beneficial effects during hypertension and other disease states in which Ang II contributes to vascular dysfunction (e.g. diabetes and aging).


Angiotensin II, Endothelial dysfunction, S3I-201, Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3, STAT3


xv, 157 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 122-157).


Copyright 2012 Andrew William Johnson

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Pharmacology Commons