Rho-kinase: Important new therapeutic target in cardiovascular diseases

Kimio Satoh, Yoshihiro Fukumoto, Hiroaki Shimokawa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

236 Citations (Scopus)


Rho-kinase (ROCKs) belongs to the family of serine/threonine kinases and is an important downstream effector of the small GTP-binding protein RhoA. There are two isoforms of Rho-kinase, ROCK1 and ROCK2, and they have different functions with ROCK1 for circulating inflammatory cells and ROCK2 for vascular smooth muscle cells. It has been demonstrated that the RhoA/Rho-kinase pathway plays an important role in various fundamental cellular functions, including contraction, motility, proliferation, and apoptosis, leading to the development of cardiovascular disease. The important role of Rho-kinase in vivo has been demonstrated in the pathogenesis of vasospasm, arteriosclerosis, ischemia-reperfusion injury, hypertension, pulmonary hypertension, stroke, and heart failure. Furthermore, the beneficial effects of fasudil, a selective Rho-kinase inhibitor, have been demonstrated for the treatment of several cardiovascular diseases in humans. Thus the Rho-kinase pathway is an important new therapeutic target in cardiovascular medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H287-H296
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Aug


  • Cyclophilin a
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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