Deoxycholylglycine, a conjugated secondary bile acid, reduces vascular tone by attenuating Ca2+ sensitivity via rho kinase pathway

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4 Scopus citations


Patients with cirrhosis have reduced systemic vascular resistance and elevated circulating bile acids (BAs). Previously, we showed that secondary conjugated BAs impair vascular tone by reducing vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) Ca2+ influx. In this study, we investigated the effect of deoxycholylglycine (DCG), on Ca2+ sensitivity in reducing vascular tone. First, we evaluated the effects of DCG on U46619- and phorbol-myristate-acetate (PMA)-induced vasoconstriction. DCG reduced U46619-induced vascular tone but failed to reduce PMA-induced vasoconstriction. Then, by utilizing varied combinations of diltiazem (voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel [VDCC] inhibitor), Y27632 (RhoA kinase [ROCK] inhibitor) and chelerythrine (PKC inhibitor) for the effect of DCG on U46619-induced vasoconstriction, we ascertained that DCG inhibits VDCC and ROCK pathway with no effect on PKC. We further assessed the effect of DCG on ROCK pathway. In β-escin-permeabilized arteries, DCG reduced high-dose Ca2+- and GTPγS (a ROCK activator)-induced vasoconstriction. In rat vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), DCG reduced U46619-induced phosphorylation of myosin light chain subunit (MLC20) and myosin phosphatase target subunit-1 (MYPT1). In permeabilized VSMCs, DCG reduced Ca2+- and GTPγS-mediated MLC20 and MYPT1 phosphorylation, and further, reduced GTPγS-mediated membrane translocation of RhoA. In VSMCs, long-term treatment with DCG had no effect on ROCK2 and RhoA expression. In conclusion, DCG attenuates vascular Ca2+ sensitivity and tone via inhibiting ROCK pathway. These results enhance our understanding of BAs-mediated regulation of vascular tone and provide a platform to develop new treatment strategies to reduce arterial dysfunction in cirrhosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-21
Number of pages8
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Bile acids
  • Cirrhosis
  • Deoxycholylglycine (DCG)
  • Rho kinase
  • Vascular dysfunction
  • Vascular tone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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