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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Protoporphyrin IX generation from delta-aminolevulinic acid elicits pulmonary artery relaxation and soluble guanylate cyclase activation.

Protoporphyrin IX is an activator of soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC), but its role as an endogenous regulator of vascular function through cGMP has not been previously reported. In this study we examined whether the heme precursor delta-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) could regulate vascular force through promoting protoporphyrin IX-elicited activation of sGC. Exposure of endothelium-denuded bovine pulmonary arteries (BPA) in organoid culture to increasing concentrations of the heme precursor ALA caused a concentration-dependent increase in BPA epifluorescence, consistent with increased tissue protoporphyrin IX levels, associated with decreased force generation to increasing concentrations of serotonin. The force-depressing actions of 0.1 mM ALA were associated with increased cGMP-associated vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) phosphorylation and increased sGC activity in homogenates of BPA cultured with ALA. Increasing iron availability with 0.1 mM FeSO(4) inhibited the decrease in contraction to serotonin and increase in sGC activity caused by ALA, associated with decreased protoporphyrin IX and increased heme. Chelating endogenous iron with 0.1 mM deferoxamine increased the detection of protoporphyrin IX and force depressing activity of 10 microM ALA. The inhibition of sGC activation with the heme oxidant 10 muM 1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one (ODQ) attenuated the force depressing actions of an NO donor without altering the actions of ALA. Thus control of endogenous formation of protoporphyrin IX from ALA by the availability of iron is potentially a novel physiological mechanism of controlling vascular function through regulating the activity of sGC.[1]


  1. Protoporphyrin IX generation from delta-aminolevulinic acid elicits pulmonary artery relaxation and soluble guanylate cyclase activation. Mingone, C.J., Gupte, S.A., Chow, J.L., Ahmad, M., Abraham, N.G., Wolin, M.S. Am. J. Physiol. Lung Cell Mol. Physiol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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