Pretreatment of porcine aortic endothelial cells with high D-glucose results in enhanced endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF) formation (39%) due to increased endothelial Ca2+ release (57%) and Ca2+ entry (97%) to bradykinin. This study was designed to investigate the intracellular mechanisms by which high D-glucose affects endothelial Ca2+/EDRF response. The aldose-reductase inhibitors, sorbinil and zopolrestat, failed to diminish high D-glucose-mediated alterations in Ca2+/EDRF response, suggesting that aldose-reductase does not contribute to high D-glucose-initiated changes in Ca2+/EDRF signaling. Pretreatment of cells with the nonmetabolizing D-glucose analog, 3-O-methylglucopyranose (3-OMG), mimicked the effect of high D-glucose on Ca2+ release (41%) and Ca2+ entry (114%) to bradykinin, associated with elevated EDRF formation (26%). High D-glucose and 3-OMG increased superoxide anion (O2) formation (133 and 293%, respectively), which was insensitive to inhibitors of cyclooxygenase (5,8,11,14-eicosatetraynoic acid [ETYA], indomethacin), lipoxygenase (ETYA, gossypol, nordihydroguaiaretic acid [NDGA]), cytochrome P450 (NDGA, econazole, miconazole), and nitric oxide (NO) synthase (L-omega N-nitroarginine), while it was diminished by desferal, a metal chelator. The gamma-glutamyl-cysteine-synthase inhibitor, buthioninesulfoximine (BSO), also increased formation of O2 by 365% and mimicked the effect of high D-glucose on Ca2+/EDRF signaling. The effects of high D-glucose, 3-OMG, and BSO were abolished by co-incubation with superoxide dismutase. Like high D-glucose, pretreatment with the O2-generating system, xanthine oxidase/hypoxanthine, elevated bradykinin-stimulated Ca2+ release (+10%), Ca2+ entry (+75%), and EDRF (+73%). We suggest that prolonged exposure to pathologically high D-glucose concentration results in enhanced formation of O2, possibly due to metal-mediated oxidation of D-glucose within the cells. This overshoot of O2 enhances agonist-stimulated Ca2+/EDRF signaling via a yet unknown mechanism.

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