ABSTRACT: Activation of the calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) leads to an increase of intracellular calcium concentration and alteration of cellular activities. High level of intracellular calcium is involved in hypoxia-induced proliferation of pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs). However, whether the CaSR is expressed in PAMSCs and is related to the hypoxia-induced proliferation of PASMCs is unclear. In this study, the expression and distribution of CaSRs were detected by RT-PCR, western blotting and immunofluorescence; the intracellular concentration of free calcium ([Ca(2+) ](i) ) was determined by confocal laser scanning microscopy; cell proliferation was tested using an MTT and BrdU incorporation assay; cell cycle analysis was carried out using a flow cytometric assay; and the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 1,2 (ERK1,2) and AKT were analysed by western blotting. We observed that both CaSR mRNA and protein were expressed in rat PASMCs. Lowering of oxygen from 21% to 2.5% led to increased [Ca(2+) ](i) and CaSR expression. This condition of hypoxia also stimulated PASMCs proliferation accompanying with increased phosphorylation of ERK1,2 and AKT. GdCl(3) (an agonist of CaSR) or NPS2390 (an antagonist of CaSR) amplified or weakened the effect of hypoxia, respectively. PD98059 (a MEK1 inhibitor) or LY294002 (a PI3K inhibitors) decreased the up-regulation of PCNA expression and the increase of the cell proliferation index induced by hypoxia and GdCl(3) in PASMCs. Our results suggest that CaSR is expressed in rat PASMCs, and that CaSR activation through MEK1/ERK1,2 and PI3 kinase pathways is involved in hypoxia-induced proliferation of PASMCs.
Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology 11/2010; 108(3):185-93. · 2.18 Impact Factor