Angiotensinogen Exerts Effects Independent of Angiotensin II

Hong Lu, Congqing Wu, Deborah A. Howatt, Anju Balakrishnan, Jessica J. Moorleghen, Xiaofeng Chen, Mingming Zhao, Mark J. Graham, Adam E. Mullick, Rosanne M. Crooke, David L. Feldman, Lisa A. Cassis, Craig W.Vander Kooi, Alan Daugherty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Objective-This study determined whether angiotensinogen (AGT) has angiotensin II-independent effects using multiple genetic and pharmacological manipulations. Approach and Results-All study mice were in low-density lipoprotein receptor-/-background and fed a saturated fat-enriched diet. In mice with floxed alleles and a neomycin cassette in intron 2 of the AGT gene (hypoAGT mice), plasma AGT concentrations were >90% lower compared with their wild-type littermates. HypoAGT mice had lower systolic blood pressure, less atherosclerosis, and diminished body weight gain and liver steatosis. Low plasma AGT concentrations and all phenotypes were recapitulated in mice with hepatocyte-specific deficiency of AGT or pharmacological inhibition of AGT by antisense oligonucleotide administration. In contrast, inhibition of AGT cleavage by a renin inhibitor, aliskiren, failed to alter body weight gain and liver steatosis in low-density lipoprotein receptor-/-mice. In mice with established adiposity, administration of AGT antisense oligonucleotide versus aliskiren led to equivalent reductions of systolic blood pressure and atherosclerosis. AGT antisense oligonucleotide administration ceased body weight gain and further reduced body weight, whereas aliskiren did not affect body weight gain during continuous saturated fat-enriched diet feeding. Structural comparisons of AGT proteins in zebrafish, mouse, rat, and human revealed 4 highly conserved sequences within the des(angiotensin I)AGT domain. des(angiotensin I)AGT, through adeno-associated viral infection in hepatocyte-specific AGT-deficient mice, increased body weight gain and liver steatosis, but did not affect atherosclerosis. Conclusions-AGT contributes to body weight gain and liver steatosis through functions of the des(angiotensin I)AGT domain, which are independent of angiotensin II production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-265
Number of pages10
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Robert A. Hegele and David Carter in Robarts Research Institute, Canada for their technical and intellectual assistance for gene microarray analysis. We thank Andrew Morris and Sunkara Manjula for measuring liver triglycerides, Victoria English for measuring plasma renin concentrations, and Frederique Yiannikouris for removing the neo cassette from the hypoAGT mouse, and Debra Rateri for article editing. This research work was supported by a grant (HL062846) to A. Daugherty from the National Institutes of Health of the United States of America, an American Heart Association predoctoral fellowship (12PRE12030364) to C. Wu, and a pilot grant to H. Lu by an Institutional Development Award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20 GM103527. Aliskiren studies were supported by an award from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. Mass Spectrometry used for liver triglyceride measurement and EchoMRI for body mass assays were provided by funds from the National Center for Research Resources (P20 RR021954) and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (P20 GM103527). The content in this article is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.


  • angiotensinogen
  • atherosclerosis
  • blood pressure
  • liver steatosis
  • obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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