Inhibition of vascular smooth muscle G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 enhances α1D-adrenergic receptor constriction

Heather Irina Cohn, David M. Harris, Stephanie Pesant, Michael Pfeiffer, Rui Hai Zhou, Walter J. Koch, Gerald W. Dorn, Andrea D. Eckhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2) is a serine/theorinine kinase that phosphorylates and desensitizes agonist-bound G protein-coupled receptors. GRK2 is increased in expression and activity in lymphocytes and vascular smooth muscle (VSM) in human hypertension and animal models of the disease. Inhibition of GRK2 using the carboxylterminal portion of the protein (GRK2ct) has been an effective tool to restore compromised β-adrenergic receptor (AR) function in heart failure and improve outcome. A well-characterized dysfunction in hypertension is attenuation of βAR-mediated vasodilation. Therefore, we tested the role of inhibition of GRK2 using GRK2ct or VSM-selective GRK2 gene ablation in a renal artery stenosis model of elevated blood pressure (BP) [the two-kidney, one-clip (2K1C) model]. Use of the 2K1C model resulted in a 30% increase in conscious BP, a threefold increase in plasma norepinephrine levels, and a 50% increase in VSM GRK2 mRNA levels. BP remained increased despite VSM-specific GRK2 inhibition by either GRK2 knockout (GRK2KO) or peptide inhibition (GRK2ct). Although βAR-mediated dilation in vivo and in situ was enhanced, α1AR-mediated vasoconstriction was also increased. Further pharmacological experiments using α1AR antagonists revealed that GRK2 inhibition of expression (GRK2KO) or activity (GRK2ct) enhanced α1DAR vasoconstriction. This is the first study to suggest that VSM α1DARs are a GRK2 substrate in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1695-H1704
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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