Loss of endothelial pertussis toxin-sensitive G protein function in atherosclerotic porcine coronary arteries

Hiroaki Shimokawa, Nicholas A. Flavahan, Paul M. Vanhoutte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


Pertussis toxin, an irreversible inhibitor of some G proteins, inhibits endothelium-dependent relaxations to certain agonists in porcine coronary arteries. In the present study, the effects of the toxin were examined on endothelium-dependent and -independent relaxations of hypercholesterolemic and atherosclerotic porcine coronary arteries to assess the functional state of the endothelial pertussis toxin-sensitive G protein. Male Yorkshire pigs were maintained on either a regular diet (control group, n=7) or a 2% high-cholesterol diet (cholesterol-fed group, n=7) for 10 weeks. After the initial 2 weeks of maintenance, animals in both groups underwent balloon catheter removal of the endothelium of the left anterior descending or left circumflex coronary arteries. Endothelium-dependent responses were examined in vitro after 10 weeks of maintenance; at this time, a full lining of endothelial cells in both left coronary arteries was confirmed histologically. In arteries with endothelium of the control group (normal responses), pertussis toxin significantly inhibited the endothelium-dependent relaxations to serotonin, UK14304 (a selective α2-adrenergic receptor agonist), and thrombin but not those to ADP, bradykinin, or the calcium ionophore A23187. In previously denuded arteries of the control group (effects of endothelial regeneration alone) or intact arteries of the cholesterol-fed group (effects of hypercholesterolemia alone), the relaxations to serotonin, UK14304, and thrombin were impaired significantly; those relaxations were impaired further in previously denuded arteries of the cholesterol-fed group (effects of atherosclerosis). The inhibitory effects of pertussis toxin were significantly reduced after endothelial regeneration and in hypercholesterolemia and were almost absent in atherosclerosis. Direct relaxations of coronary vascular smooth muscle evoked by nitric oxide or sodium nitroprusside were not significantly affected by either hypercholesterolemia or atherosclerosis. These results indicate that the function of endothelial pertussis toxin-sensitive G protein is impaired in regenerated endothelial cells or hypercholesterolemia and is almost absent in atherosclerosis, accounting in part for the endothelial dysfunction under those pathological conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)652-660
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • A23187
  • ADP
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Bradykinin
  • Endothelium-derived relaxing factor
  • G proteins
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Pertussis toxin
  • Regenerated endothelium
  • Serotonin
  • Thrombin
  • α-adrenergic receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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