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The antihypertensive effect of MK on spontaneously hypertensive rats through the AMPK/Akt/eNOS/NO and ERK1/2/Cx43 signaling pathways


We investigated the antihypertensive effects of maximakinin (MK) on spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs). The effects of MK on arterial blood pressure in SHRs were observed, and flow cytometry and 4,5-diaminofluorescein-2 staining were used to examine MK-induced nitric oxide (NO) release in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Western blotting was used to analyze the effects of MK on the expression of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), Akt, Connexin 43, ERK1/2, p38, and p-eNOS in HUVECs. The results showed that MK induced a more significant antihypertensive effect on SHRs than bradykinin (BK). MK induced significant increases in endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation and NO release in HUVECs. MK also significantly increased the phosphorylation of Akt and AMPK in HUVECs. The AMPK inhibitor compound C blocked the effect of MK on the generation of NO. MK induced the phosphorylation of ERK1/2, p38, and Connexin 43. The expression of p-Connexin 43 was significantly decreased in the presence of the ERK1/2 inhibitor U0126 but not the p38 inhibitor SB203580. The effects of MK on the phosphorylation of AMPK and ERK1/2 were significantly decreased by the BK B2 receptor inhibitor HOE-140. In summary, MK can significantly reduce blood pressure in SHRs. The antihypertensive effect might be mediated through the activation of the BK B2 receptor, while the downstream AMPK/PI3K/Akt/eNOS/NO and ERK1/2/Connexin 43 signaling pathways play additional roles.

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We thank Renee Mosi, Ph.D., from Liwen Bianji, Edanz Editing China (, for editing the English text of a draft of this paper.


This work was supported in part by the General Project of Liaoning Provincial Science and Technology Department (20170540844) and by the General Project of Liaoning Education Department (2017LQN16).

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CX and YY designed the research. YY, L-SX, YW, and F-FS performed the research. CX contributed new reagents or analytical tools. X-MZ analyzed the data. YY and CX wrote the paper.

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Correspondence to Cheng Xu.

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Yu, Y., Xu, LS., Wu, Y. et al. The antihypertensive effect of MK on spontaneously hypertensive rats through the AMPK/Akt/eNOS/NO and ERK1/2/Cx43 signaling pathways. Hypertens Res 44, 781–790 (2021).

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  • Maximakinin
  • Bradykinin
  • Hypertension
  • Bradykinin B2 receptor
  • Signaling pathways


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