Vascular and endothelial actions of inhibitors of substance P amidation

Gamal A. Abou-Mohamed, Jianzhong Huang, Charlie D. Oldham, Traci A. Taylor, Liming Jin, Ruth B. Caldwell, Sheldon W. May, R. William Caldwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Formation of mature active neuropeptides such as substance P (SP) from their glycine extended precursors entails α-amidation of peptide precursors by the sequential enzymatic action of peptidylglycine α-monooxygenase (PAM) and peptidylamidoglycolate lyase (PGL). We reported that these two enzymes that can produce mature active neuropeptides are present in cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs). We hypothesize that α-amidation of peptides occurs in endothelial cells and that these peptides are critically involved in the overall regulation of cardiovascular function. In this study, this hypothesis was tested using specific amidation inhibitors to determine their effects on the actions of SP and its glycine-extended precursor (SP- Gly). We have found that SP and SP-Gly are equipotent in stimulating nitric oxide (NO) release by BAECs. At 10-5 M, the specific inhibitors of PAM (4- phenyl-3-butenoic acid; PBA) and PGL (5-acetamido-2,4-diketo-6-phenyl- hexanoic acid and its methyl ester) reduced NO basal release by 40, 34, and 45%, respectively. They also reduced the production of NO induced by SP-Gly by 63, 68, and 69%, respectively, but had no effect on NO production in response to either SP or acetylcholine. SP and SP-Gly also were equipotent in relaxing rat aortic segments. The vasorelaxation to SP-Gly was endothelium dependent and inhibited by the NOS antagonist L-nitroarginine methy] ester (L. NAME), but it was not affected by inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis. Inhibitors of both PAM and PGL significantly reduced the vasorelaxihg actions of SP-Gly, whereas responses to SP were not affected. A cumulative infusion of PBA into the femoral artery of rabbits, at final concentrations of 2.4, 24, and 240 μM for 20 min each, increased the vascular resistance (VR), indicating the tonic production of vasodilating amidated peptide(s). This effect was maximum at 60 min after infusion (20.5 ± 4.7 v.s. 8.2 ± 0.7 mm Hg/ml/min; p< 0.05). These results suggest that endothelial cells can produce mature SP from its SP-Gly precursor and that a product of peptide α- amidation tonically stimulates endothelial cell NO release to control vascular tone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)871-880
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000


  • Nitric oxide synthase activity
  • Substance P amidation
  • Vasorelaxing action

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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