cGMP-Dependent Protein Kinase Contributes to Hydrogen Sulfide-Stimulated Vasorelaxation

Mariarosaria Bucci, Andreas Papapetropoulos, Valentina Vellecco, Zongmin Zhou, Altaany Zaid, Panagiotis Giannogonas, Anna Cantalupo, Sandeep Dhayade, Katia P. Karalis, Rui Wang, Robert Feil, Giuseppe Cirino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


A growing body of evidence suggests that hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a signaling molecule in mammalian cells. In the cardiovascular system, H2S enhances vasodilation and angiogenesis. H2S-induced vasodilation is hypothesized to occur through ATP-sensitive potassium channels (KATP); however, we recently demonstrated that it also increases cGMP levels in tissues. Herein, we studied the involvement of cGMP-dependent protein kinase-I in H2S-induced vasorelaxation. The effect of H2S on vessel tone was studied in phenylephrine-contracted aortic rings with or without endothelium. cGMP levels were determined in cultured cells or isolated vessel by enzyme immunoassay. Pretreatment of aortic rings with sildenafil attenuated NaHS-induced relaxation, confirming previous findings that H2S is a phosphodiesterase inhibitor. In addition, vascular tissue levels of cGMP in cystathionine gamma lyase knockouts were lower than those in wild-type control mice. Treatment of aortic rings with NaHS, a fast releasing H2S donor, enhanced phosphorylation of vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein in a time-dependent manner, suggesting that cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) is activated after exposure to H2S. Incubation of aortic rings with a PKG-I inhibitor (DT-2) attenuated NaHS-stimulated relaxation. Interestingly, vasodilatory responses to a slowly releasing H2S donor (GYY 4137) were unaffected by DT-2, suggesting that this donor dilates mouse aorta through PKG-independent pathways. Dilatory responses to NaHS and L-cysteine (a substrate for H2S production) were reduced in vessels of PKG-I knockout mice (PKG-I-/-). Moreover, glibenclamide inhibited NaHS-induced vasorelaxation in vessels from wild-type animals, but not PKG-I-/-, suggesting that there is a cross-talk between KATP and PKG. Our results confirm the role of cGMP in the vascular responses to NaHS and demonstrate that genetic deletion of PKG-I attenuates NaHS and L-cysteine-stimulated vasodilation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere53319
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 28 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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