Nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase (NNT) regulates mitochondrial ROS and endothelial dysfunction in response to angiotensin II

K. N.Shashanka Rao, Xinggui Shen, Sibile Pardue, David M. Krzywanski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Endothelial dysfunction is a critical, initiating step in the development of hypertension (HTN) and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) are important contributors to endothelial dysfunction. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase (Nnt) gene that are associated with endothelial dysfunction and increased risk for HTN. NNT is emerging as an important enzyme that regulates mitochondrial NADPH levels and mitochondrial redox balance by supporting the thiol dependent peroxidase systems in the mitochondria. We have previously shown that the absence of NNT in C57Bl/6J animals promotes a more severe hypertensive phenotype through reductions in NO and endothelial dependent vessel dilation. However, the impact of NNT on human endothelial cell function remains unclear. We utilized NNT directed shRNA in human aortic endothelial cells to test the hypothesis that NNT critically regulates mitochondrial redox balance and endothelial function in response to angiotensin II (Ang II). We demonstrate that NNT expression and activity are elevated in response to the mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress associated with Ang II treatment. Knockdown of NNT led to a significant elevation of mitochondrial ROS production and impaired glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase activities associated with a reduction in the NADPH/NADP+ ratio. Loss of NNT also promoted mitochondrial dysfunction, disruption of the mitochondrial membrane potential, and impaired ATP production in response to Ang II. Finally, we observed that, while the loss of NNT augmented eNOS phosphorylation at Ser1177, neither eNOS activity nor nitric oxide production were similarly increased. The results from these studies clearly demonstrate that NNT is critical for the maintenance of mitochondrial redox balance and mitochondrial function. Loss of NNT and disruption of redox balance leads to oxidative stress that compromises eNOS activity that could have a profound effect on the endothelium dependent regulation of vascular tone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101650
JournalRedox Biology
StatePublished - Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiotensin II
  • Mitochondria
  • NNT
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase (NNT) regulates mitochondrial ROS and endothelial dysfunction in response to angiotensin II'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this