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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Endocrine Disorders 1/2015

Activation of κ-opioid receptor by U50,488H improves vascular dysfunction in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats

BMC Endocrine Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2015
Xuan Zhou, Dongjuan Wang, Yuyang Zhang, Jinxia Zhang, Dingcheng Xiang, Haichang Wang
Wichtige Hinweise
Xuan Zhou and Dongjuan Wang contributed equally to this work.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

XZ designed and performed the experiments, DW performed the experiments and wrote the manuscript, YZ and JZ assisted the preparation of the experiments and contributed to statistical analysis. HW and DX conceived of the study and reviewed the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Evidence suggests that activation of κ-opioid receptor (KOR) by U50,488H exhibits potential cardiovascular protective properties. However, the effects of U50,488H on vascular dysfunction in diabetes mellitus (DM) are still not clear. The present study was designed to investigate the effects of U50,488H on vascular dysfunction in diabetic rats and explore the underlying mechanisms involved.


Rats were randomly divided into control, DM, DM + vehicle, DM + U50,488H and DM + nor-binaltorphimine (nor-BNI) groups. Streptozotocin injection was used to induce DM. Weight, blood glucose, blood pressure and plasma insulin for each group were measured. Arterial functions were assessed with isolated vessels mounted for isometric tension recordings. Angiotensin II (ANG II), soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 levels were measured by ELISA, and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation and NF-κB p65 translocation were measured by Western blot.


Activation of KOR by U50,488H reduced the enhanced contractility of aortas to KCl and noradrenaline and increased acetylcholine-induced vascular relaxation, which could also protect the aortal ultrastructure in DM. U50,488H treatment resulted in reduction in ANG II, sICAM-1, IL-6 and IL-8 levels and elevation in NO levels, while these effects were abolished by nor-BNI treatment. Further more, eNOS phosphorylation was increased, and NF-κB p65 translocation was decreased after U50,488H treatment.


Our study demonstrated that U50,488H may have therapeutic effects on diabetic vascular dysfunction by improving endothelial dysfunction and attenuating chronic inflammation, which may be dependent on phosphorylation of eNOS and downstream inhibition of NF-кB.
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