Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are the first-line treatment for hypertension; they act by inhibiting signaling through the angiotensin 1 receptor (AT1R). Recently, a novel biased AT1R agonist, TRV120027 (TRV), which selectively activates the β-arrestin cascade and blocks the G-protein-coupled receptor pathway has been proposed as a potential blood pressure medication. Here, we explored the effects of TRV and associated β-arrestin signaling in podocytes, essential cells of the kidney filter. We used human podocyte cell lines to determine β-arrestin’s involvement in calcium signaling and cytoskeletal reorganization and Dahl SS rats to investigate the chronic effects of TRV administration on glomerular health. Our experiments indicate that the TRV-activated β-arrestin pathway promotes the rapid elevation of intracellular Ca2+ in a dose-dependent manner. Interestingly, the amplitude of β-arrestin-mediated Ca2+ influx was significantly higher than the response to similar Ang II concentrations. Single-channel analyses show rapid activation of transient receptor potential canonical (TRPC) channels following acute TRV application. Furthermore, the pharmacological blockade of TRPC6 significantly attenuated the β-arrestin-mediated Ca2+ influx. Additionally, prolonged activation of the β-arrestin pathway in podocytes resulted in pathological actin cytoskeleton rearrangements, higher apoptotic cell markers, and augmented glomerular damage. TRV-activated β-arrestin signaling in podocytes may promote TRPC6 channel-mediated Ca2+ influx, foot process effacement, and apoptosis, possibly leading to severe defects in glomerular filtration barrier integrity and kidney health. Under these circumstances, the potential therapeutic application of TRV for hypertension treatment requires further investigation to assess the balance of the benefits versus possible deleterious effects and off-target damage.

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