Aging impairs Ca2+ sensitization pathways in gallbladder smooth muscle.

Department of Physiology, Nursing School, University of Extremadura, Avda. Universidad s/n, Caceres, Spain.
Age (Impact Factor: 6.28). 07/2011; 34(4):881-93. DOI: 10.1007/s11357-011-9285-6
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Calcium sensitization is an important physiological process in agonist-induced contraction of smooth muscle. In brief, calcium sensitization is a pathway that leads to smooth muscle contraction independently of changes in [Ca(2+)](i) by mean of inhibition of myosin light chain phosphatase. Aging has negative impacts on gallbladder contractile response due to partial impairment in calcium signaling and alterations in the contractile machinery. However, information regarding aging-induced alterations in calcium sensitization is scanty. We hypothesized that the calcium sensitization system is negatively affected by age. To investigate this, gallbladders were collected from adult (4 months old) and aged (22-24 months old) guinea pigs. To evaluate the contribution of calcium sensitization pathways we assayed the effect of the specific inhibitors Y-27632 and GF109203X on the "in vitro" isometric gallbladder contractions induced by agonist challenges. In addition, expression and phosphorylation (as activation index) of proteins participating in the calcium sensitization pathways were quantified by Western blotting. Aging reduced bethanechol- and cholecystokinin-evoked contractions, an effect associated with a reduction in MLC20 phosphorylation and in the effects of both Y-27632 and GF109203X. In addition, there was a drop in ROCK I, ROCK II, MYPT-1 and PKC expression and in the activation/phosphorylation of MYPT-1, PKC and CPI-17 in response to agonists. Interestingly, melatonin treatment for 4 weeks restored gallbladder contractile responses due to re-establishment of calcium sensitization pathways. These results demonstrate that age-related gallbladder hypocontractility is associated to alterations of calcium sensitization pathways and that melatonin treatment exerts beneficial effects in the recovery of gallbladder contractility.

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