PI3Kγ inhibition reduces blood pressure by a vasorelaxant Akt/L-type calcium channel mechanism

Daniela Carnevale, Carmine Vecchione, Giada Mascio, Giovanni Esposito, Giuseppe Cifelli, Katiuscia Martinello, Alessandro Landolfi, Giulio Selvetella, Paolo Grieco, Antonio Damato, Elio Franco, Hannelore Haase, Angelo Maffei, Elisa Ciraolo, Sergio Fucile, Giacomo Frati, Orazio Mazzoni, Emilio Hirsch, Giuseppe Lembo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims The lipid and protein kinase phosphoinositide 3-kinase γ (PI3Kγ) is abundantly expressed in inflammatory cells and in the cardiovascular tissue. In recent years, its role in inflammation and in cardiac function and remodelling has been unravelled, highlighting the beneficial effects of its pharmacological inhibition. Furthermore, a role for PI3Kγ in the regulation of vascular tone has been emphasized. However, the impact of this signalling in the control of blood pressure is still poorly understood. Our study investigated the effect of a selective inhibition of PI3Kγ, obtained by using two independent small molecules, on blood pressure. Moreover, we dissected the molecular mechanisms involved in control of contraction of resistance arteries by PI3Kγ. Methods and Results We showed that inhibition of PI3Kγ reduced blood pressure in normotensive and hypertensive mice in a concentration-dependent fashion. This effect was dependent on enhanced vasodilatation, documented in vivo by decreased peripheral vascular resistance, and ex vivo by vasorelaxing effects on isolated resistance vessels. The vasorelaxation induced by PI3Kγ inhibition relied on blunted pressure-induced Akt phosphorylation and a myogenic contractile response. Molecular insights revealed that PI3Kγ inhibition affected smooth muscle L-type calcium channel current density and calcium influx by impairing plasma membrane translocation of the α1C L-type calcium channel subunit responsible for channel open-state probability. Conclusion Overall our findings suggest that PI3Kγ inhibition could be a novel tool to modulate calcium influx in vascular smooth muscle cells, thus relaxing resistance arteries and lowering blood pressure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-209
Number of pages10
JournalCardiovascular Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2012


  • Blood pressure
  • L-type calcium channel
  • Myogenic tone
  • Phosphoinositide 3-kinase γ
  • Resistance artery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'PI3Kγ inhibition reduces blood pressure by a vasorelaxant Akt/L-type calcium channel mechanism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this