Assessment of the Role of Endothelial and Vascular Smooth Muscle EGFR for Acute Blood Pressure Effects of Angiotensin II and Adrenergic Stimulation in Obese Mice

(1) Background: Obesity is associated with hypertension because of endocrine dysregulation of the adrenergic and the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone systems. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is an important signaling hub in the cardiovascular system. In this study, we investigate the role of smooth muscle cell (VSMC) and endothelial cell (EC) EGFRs for blood pressure homeostasis and acute vascular reactivity in vivo. (2) Methods: Mice with deletion of the EGFR in the respective cell type received either a high-fat (HFD) or standard-fat diet (SFD) for 18 weeks. Intravascular blood pressure was measured via a Millar catheter in anesthetized animals upon vehicle load, angiotensin II (AII) and phenylephrine (PE) stimulation. (3) Results: We confirmed that deletion of the EGFR in VSMCs leads to reduced blood pressure and a most probably compensatory heart rate increase. EC-EGFR and VSMC-EGFR had only a minor impact on volume-load-induced blood pressure changes in lean as well as in obese wild-type animals. Regarding vasoactive substances, EC-EGFR seems to have no importance for angiotensin II action and counteracting HFD-induced prolonged blood pressure increase upon PE stimulation. VSMC-EGFR supports the blood pressure response to adrenergic and angiotensin II stimulation in lean animals. The responsiveness to AII and alpha-adrenergic stimulation was similar in lean and obese animals despite the known enhanced activity of the RAAS and the sympathetic nervous system under a high-fat diet. (4) Conclusions: We demonstrate that EGFRs in VSMCs and to a lesser extent in ECs modulate short-term vascular reactivity to AII, catecholamines and volume load in lean and obese animals.


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