Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 7-2-1999


We showed before that in cardiac myocytes partial inhibition of Na+/K+-ATPase by nontoxic concentrations of ouabain causes hypertrophy and transcriptional regulations of growth-related marker genes through multiple Ca2+-dependent signal pathways many of which involve Ras and p42/44 mitogen-activated protein kinases. The aim of this work was to explore the roles of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) in these ouabain-initiated pathways. Ouabain caused a rapid generation of ROS within the myocytes that was prevented by preexposure of cells to N-acetylcysteine (NAC) or vitamin E. These antioxidants also blocked or attenuated the following actions of ouabain: inductions of the genes of skeletal α-actin and atrial natriuretic factor, repression of the gene of the α3-subunit of Na+/K+-ATPase, activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases, activation of Ras-dependent protein synthesis, and activation of transcription factor NF-κB. Induction of c-fos and activation of AP-1 by ouabain were not sensitive to NAC. Ouabain-induced inhibition of active Rb+ uptake through Na+/K+-ATPase and the resulting rise in intracellular Ca2+ were also not prevented by NAC. A phorbol ester that also causes myocyte hypertrophy did not increase ROS generation, and its effects on marker genes and protein synthesis were not affected by NAC. We conclude the following: (a) ROS are essential second messengers within some but not all signal pathways that are activated by the effect of ouabain on Na+/K+-ATPase; (b) the ROS-dependent pathways are involved in ouabain-induced hypertrophy; (c) increased ROS generation is not a common response of the myocyte to all hypertrophic stimuli; and (d) it may be possible to dissociate the positive inotropic effect of ouabain from its growth-related effects by alteration of the redox state of the cardiac myocyte.


The version of record is available from the publisher at Copyright © 1999 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.