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ClC-3 promotes angiotensin II-induced reactive oxygen species production in endothelial cells by facilitating Nox2 NADPH oxidase complex formation


Recent evidence suggests that ClC-3, a member of the ClC family of Cl channels or Cl/H+ antiporters, plays a critical role in NADPH oxidase-derived reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. However, the underling mechanisms remain unclear. In this study we investigated the effects and mechanisms of ClC-3 on NADPH oxidase activation and ROS generation in endothelial cells. Treatment with angiotensin II (Ang II, 1 μmol/L) significantly elevated ClC-3 expression in cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Furthermore, Ang II treatment increased ROS production and NADPH oxidase activity, an effect that could be significantly inhibited by knockdown of ClC-3, and further enhanced by overexpression of ClC-3. SA-β-galactosidase staining showed that ClC-3 silencing abolished Ang II-induced HUVEC senescence, whereas ClC-3 overexpression caused the opposite effects. We further showed that Ang II treatment increased the translocation of p47phox and p67phox from the cytosol to membrane, accompanied by elevated Nox2 and p22phox expression, which was significantly attenuated by knockdown of ClC-3 and potentiated by overexpression of ClC-3. Moreover, overexpression of ClC-3 increased Ang II-induced phosphorylation of p47phox and p38 MAPK in HUVECs. Pretreatment with a p38 inhibitor SB203580 abolished ClC-3 overexpression-induced increase in p47phox phosphorylation, as well as NADPH oxidase activity and ROS generation. Our results demonstrate that ClC-3 acts as a positive regulator of Ang II-induced NADPH oxidase activation and ROS production in endothelial cells, possibly via promoting both Nox2/p22phox expression and p38 MAPK-dependent p47phox/p67phox membrane translocation, then increasing Nox2 NADPH oxidase complex formation.

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The authors declare no competing interests.


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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81373401 and 81573422); Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (No. S2013010016611); and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 2015ykzd01).

Author information

Y-hD and G-zL designed the study and drafted the manuscript; G-zL and L-mC performed the experiments; Y-yG assisted with the data analyses and discussion; other colleagues assisted with the experiments and data collection.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Correspondence to Yan-hua Du.

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  • ClC-3
  • angiotensin II
  • oxidative stress
  • NADPH oxidase
  • endothelial cell

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