In this report, we show that hyperglycemia-induced overproduction of superoxide by the mitochondrial electron transport chain activates the three major pathways of hyperglycemic damage found in aortic endothelial cells by inhibiting GAPDH activity. In bovine aortic endothelial cells, GAPDH antisense oligonucleotides activated each of the pathways of hyperglycemic vascular damage in cells cultured in 5 mM glucose to the same extent as that induced by culturing cells in 30 mM glucose. Hyperglycemia-induced GAPDH inhibition was found to be a consequence of poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of GAPDH by poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), which was activated by DNA strand breaks produced by mitochondrial superoxide overproduction. Both the hyperglycemia-induced decrease in activity of GAPDH and its poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation were prevented by overexpression of either uncoupling protein–1 (UCP-1) or manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD), which decrease hyperglycemia-induced superoxide. Overexpression of UCP-1 or MnSOD also prevented hyperglycemia-induced DNA strand breaks and activation of PARP. Hyperglycemia-induced activation of each of the pathways of vascular damage was abolished by blocking PARP activity with the competitive PARP inhibitors PJ34 or INO-1001. Elevated glucose increased poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of GAPDH in WT aortae, but not in the aortae from PARP-1–deficient mice. Thus, inhibition of PARP blocks hyperglycemia-induced activation of multiple pathways of vascular damage
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