Cyp2c44 epoxygenase-derived epoxyeicosatrienoic acids in vascular smooth muscle cells elicit vasoconstriction of the murine ophthalmic artery
Cytochrome P450 (CYP) signalling pathway has been shown to play a vital role in the vasoreactivity of wild type mouse ophthalmic artery. In this study, we determined the expression, vascular responses and potential mechanisms of the CYP-derived arachidonic acid metabolites. The expression of murine CYP (Cyp2c44) and soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) in the wild type ophthalmic artery was determined with immunofluorescence, which showed predominant expression of Cyp2c44 in the vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC), while sEH was found mainly in the endothelium of the wild type ophthalmic artery. Artery of Cyp2c44−/− and sEH−/− mice were used as negative controls. Targeted mass spectrometry-based lipidomics analysis of endogenous epoxide and diols of the wild type artery detected only 14, 15-EET. Vasorelaxant responses of isolated vessels in response to selective pharmacological blockers and agonist were analysed ex vivo. Direct antagonism of epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs) with a selective inhibitor caused partial vasodilation, suggesting that EETs may behave as vasoconstrictors. Exogenous administration of synthetic EET regioisomers significantly constricted the vessels in a concentration-dependent manner, with the strongest responses elicited by 11, 12- and 14, 15-EETs. Our results provide the first experimental evidence that Cyp2c44-derived EETs in the VSMC mediate vasoconstriction of the ophthalmic artery.