Nitric oxide regulates BP by binding the reduced heme iron (Fe2+) in soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) and relaxing vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs). We previously showed that sGC heme iron reduction (Fe3+ → Fe2+) is modulated by cytochrome b5 reductase 3 (CYB5R3). However, the in vivo role of SMC CYB5R3 in BP regulation remains elusive. Here, we generated conditional smooth muscle cell–specific Cyb5r3 KO mice (SMC CYB5R3–KO) to test if SMC CYB5R3 loss affects systemic BP in normotension and hypertension via regulation of the sGC redox state. SMC CYB5R3–KO mice exhibited a 5.84-mmHg increase in BP and impaired acetylcholine-induced vasodilation in mesenteric arteries compared with controls. To drive sGC oxidation and elevate BP, we infused mice with angiotensin II. We found that SMC CYB5R3–KO mice exhibited a 14.75-mmHg BP increase, and mesenteric arteries had diminished nitric oxide–dependent vasodilation but increased responsiveness to sGC heme-independent activator BAY 58-2667 over controls. Furthermore, acute injection of BAY 58-2667 in angiotensin II–treated SMC CYB5R3–KO mice showed greater BP reduction compared with controls. Together, these data provide the first in vivo evidence to our knowledge that SMC CYB5R3 is an sGC heme reductase in resistance arteries and provides resilience against systemic hypertension development.


Brittany G. Durgin, Scott A. Hahn, Heidi M. Schmidt, Megan P. Miller, Neha Hafeez, Ilka Mathar, Daniel Freitag, Peter Sandner, Adam C. Straub


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