[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A key to harnessing the enormous therapeutic potential of estrogens is understanding the diversity of estrogen receptors and their signaling mechanisms. In addition to the classic nuclear estrogen receptors (i.e., ERα and ERβ), over the past decade a novel G-protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER) has been discovered in cancer and other cell types. More recently, this non-genomic signaling mechanism has been found in blood vessels, and mediates vasodilatory responses to estrogen and estrogen-like agents; however, downstream signaling events involved acute estrogen action remain unclear. The purpose of this review is to discuss the latest knowledge concerning GPER modulation of cardiovascular function, with a particular emphasis upon how activation of this receptor could mediate acute estrogen effects in the heart and blood vessels (i.e., vascular tone, cell growth and differentiation, apoptosis, endothelial function, myocardial protection). Understanding the role of GPER in estrogen signaling may help resolve some of the controversies associated with estrogen and cardiovascular function. Moreover, a more thorough understanding of GPER function could also open significant opportunities for the development of new pharmacological strategies that would provide the cardiovascular benefits of estrogen while limiting the potentially dangerous side effects.
Pharmacological Research 03/2013; · 4.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vascular pathology and dysfunction are direct life-threatening outcomes resulting from atherosclerosis or vascular injury, which are primarily attributed to contractile smooth muscle cells (SMCs) dedifferentiation and proliferation by re-entering cell cycle. Increasing evidence suggests potent protective effects of G-protein coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER) activation against cardiovascular diseases. However, the mechanism underlying GPER function remains poorly understood, especially if it plays a potential role in modulating coronary artery smooth muscle cells (CASMCs).
The objective of our study was to understand the functional role of GPER in CASMC proliferation and differentiation in coronary arteries using from humans and swine models. We found that the GPER agonist, G-1, inhibited both human and porcine CASMC proliferation in a concentration- (10(-8) to 10(-5) M) and time-dependent manner. Flow cytometry revealed that treatment with G-1 significantly decreased the proportion of S-phase and G2/M cells in the growing cell population, suggesting that G-1 inhibits cell proliferation by slowing progression of the cell cycle. Further, G-1-induced cell cycle retardation was associated with decreased expression of cyclin B, up-regulation of cyclin D1, and concomitant induction of p21, and partially mediated by suppressed ERK1/2 and Akt pathways. In addition, G-1 induces SMC differentiation evidenced by increased α-smooth muscle actin (α-actin) and smooth muscle protein 22α (SM22α) protein expressions and inhibits CASMC migration induced by growth medium.
GPER activation inhibits CASMC proliferation by suppressing cell cycle progression via inhibition of ERK1/2 and Akt phosphorylation. GPER may constitute a novel mechanism to suppress intimal migration and/or synthetic phenotype of VSMC.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(6):e64771. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Androgens are reported to have both beneficial and detrimental effects on human cardiovascular health. The aim of this study was to characterize nongenomic signaling mechanisms in coronary artery smooth muscle (CASM) and define the ionic basis of testosterone (TES) action. TES-induced relaxation of endothelium-denuded porcine coronary arteries was nearly abolished by 20 nM iberiotoxin, a highly specific inhibitor of large-conductance, calcium-activated potassium (BK(Ca)) channels. Molecular patch-clamp studies confirmed that nanomolar concentrations of TES stimulated BK(Ca) channel activity by ∼100-fold and that inhibition of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity by N(G)-monomethyl-L-arginine nearly abolished this effect. Inhibition of nitric oxide (NO) synthesis or guanylyl cyclase activity also attenuated TES-induced coronary artery relaxation but did not alter relaxation due to 8-bromo-cGMP. Furthermore, we detected TES-stimulated NO production in porcine coronary arteries and in human CASM cells via stimulation of the type 1 neuronal NOS isoform. Inhibition of the cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) attenuated TES-stimulated BK(Ca) channel activity, and direct assay determined that TES increased activity of PKG in a concentration-dependent fashion. Last, the stimulatory effect of TES on BK(Ca) channel activity was mimicked by addition of purified PKG to the cytoplasmic surface of a cell-free membrane patch from CASM myocytes (∼100-fold increase). These findings indicate that TES-induced relaxation of endothelium-denuded coronary arteries is mediated, at least in part, by enhanced NO production, leading to cGMP synthesis and PKG activation, which, in turn, opens BK(Ca) channels. These findings provide a molecular mechanism that could help explain why androgens have been reported to relax coronary arteries and relieve angina pectoris.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Estrogens can either relax or contract arteries via rapid, nongenomic mechanisms involving classic estrogen receptors (ER). In addition to ERα and ERβ, estrogen may also stimulate G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER) in nonvascular tissue; however, a potential role for GPER in coronary arteries is unclear. The purpose of this study was to determine how GPER activity influenced coronary artery reactivity. In vitro isometric force recordings were performed on endothelium-denuded porcine arteries. These studies were augmented by RT-PCR and single-cell patch-clamp experiments. RT-PCR and immunoblot studies confirmed expression of GPER mRNA and protein, respectively, in smooth muscle from either porcine or human coronary arteries. G-1, a selective GPER agonist, produced a concentration-dependent relaxation of endothelium-denuded porcine coronary arteries in vitro. This response was attenuated by G15, a GPER-selective antagonist, or by inhibiting large-conductance calcium-activated potassium (BK(Ca)) channels with iberiotoxin, but not by inhibiting NO signaling. Last, single-channel patch-clamp studies demonstrated that G-1 stimulates BK(Ca) channel activity in intact smooth muscle cells from either porcine or human coronary arteries but had no effect on channels isolated in excised membrane patches. In summary, GPER activation relaxes coronary artery smooth muscle by increasing potassium efflux via BK(Ca) channels and requires an intact cellular signaling mechanism. This novel action of estrogen-like compounds may help clarify some of the controversy surrounding the vascular effects of estrogens.
AJP Endocrinology and Metabolism 07/2011; 301(5):E882-8. · 4.51 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Few studies have examined the potential effects of childbirth on the responses of the female vasculature--especially the resistance microvasculature of non-reproductive tissues. In the present study we have investigated the response of mesenteric microvascular resistance vessels to estrogen (E2), an important vasoactive hormone. Vessels were obtained from either nulliparous or postpartum female Sprague-Dawley rats, and isometric tension studies were performed. We found that E2 induced a concentration-dependent, endothelium-independent relaxation of microvessels precontracted with 10(-5) M phenylephrine; however, E2-induced relaxation was reduced by nearly half in vessels from postpartum animals compared to nulliparous controls. Inhibiting nitric oxide synthase activity with 10(-4) M L-NMMA or L-NPA (which exhibits selectivity for type 1 or nNOS) attenuated the relaxation effect of E2 on arteries from nulliparous animals. In contrast, L-NPA had little effect on arteries from postpartum animals, suggesting a reduced influence of nNOS after parturition. Moreover, expression of nNOS protein in microvessels was decreased 39% in the postpartum state compared to arteries from nulliparous animals. We propose that the impaired E2-induced relaxation response of microvessels from postpartum animals reflects a downregulation of NO production due to lower nNOS expressed in vascular smooth muscle cells. We measured a 73% decrease in serum E2 levels in the postpartum state compared to nulliparous animals. Because E2 has been shown to increase nNOS protein expression, we propose that lower E2 levels after parturition decrease expression of nNOS, leading to a reduced vasodilatory capacity of resistance microvessels.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Elevated plasma homocysteine has been implicated in glaucoma, a vision disorder characterized by retinal ganglion cell death. The toxic potential of homocysteine to ganglion cells is known, but the mechanisms are not clear. A mechanism of homocysteine-induced death of cerebral neurons is via N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor overstimulation, leading to excess calcium influx and oxidative stress. This study examined the role of the NMDA receptor in homocysteine-mediated ganglion cell death.
Primary mouse ganglion cells were used for these experiments. NMDA receptor stimulation by homocysteine was determined by patch clamp analysis and fluorescent detection of intracellular calcium. NMDA receptor involvement in homocysteine-mediated cell death was determined through assessment of lactate dehydrogenase release and TUNEL analysis. These experiments used the NMDA receptor blocker MK-801. Induction of reactive species superoxide, nitric oxide, and peroxynitrite was measured by electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, chemiluminescent nitric oxide detection, and immunoblotting for nitrotyrosine, respectively.
50 μM homocysteine stimulated the NMDA receptor in presence of 100 μM glycine. Homocysteine induced 59.67 ± 4.89% ganglion cell death that was reduced to 19.87 ± 3.03% with cotreatment of 250 nM MK-801. Homocysteine elevated intracellular calcium ∼7-fold, which was completely prevented by MK-801. Homocysteine treatment increased superoxide and nitric oxide levels by ∼40% and ∼90%, respectively, after 6 hours. Homocysteine treatment elevated peroxynitrite by ∼85% after 9 hours.
These experiments provide compelling evidence that homocysteine induces retinal ganglion cell toxicity through direct NMDA receptor stimulation and implicate, for the first time, the induction of oxidative stress as a potent mechanism of homocysteine-mediated ganglion cell death.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) exhibit a lower pregnancy rate, which may be related to decreased estrogen receptor (ER) expression or endometrial receptivity. We measured expression of ERα, ERβ and the novel G protein-coupled ER (GPR30) in endometrium during window of implantation (WOI) in PCOS patients. Fifteen Chinese women with PCOS were compared to 15 normal subjects. Serial trans-vaginal ultrasonic scanner (TVUS) examinations detected follicular development, and endometrial thickness and pattern were assessed via TVUS on the day of ovulation. GPR30 expression was detected in the cytoplasm of endometrial epithelial cells, and was significantly lower in the PCOS group (p < 0.05). ERα and ERβ expression was lower in the PCOS group, and was detected mainly in the nucleus of endometrial epithelial cells. There was no significant difference in endometrium thickness (p > 0.05), but there was a significant difference in the ultrasonic pattern (p < 0.05). Endometrial expression of GPR30, ERα and ERβ was decreased during WOI in PCOS patients, and was accompanied by poor endometrial receptivity, low pregnancy rate and higher spontaneous abortions. We propose that restored receptor expression might improve endometrial receptivity and help lower infertility associated with PCOS.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human Elongator complex, which plays a key role in transcript elongation in vitro assay, is incredibly similar in either components or function to its yeast counterpart. However, there are only a few studies focusing on its target gene characterization in vivo. We studied the effect of down-regulation of the human elongation protein 3 (hELP3) on the expression of HSP70 through antisense strategy. Transfecting antisense plasmid p1107 into HeLa cells highly suppressed hELP3 expression, and substantially reduced expression of HSP70 mRNA and protein. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation assay (ChIP Assay) revealed that hElp3 participates in the transcription elongation of HSPA1A in HeLa cells. Finally, complementation and ChIP Assay in yeast showed that hElp3 can not only complement the growth and slow activation of HSP70 (SSA3) gene transcription, but also directly regulates the transcription of SSA3. On the contrary, these functions are lost when the HAT domain is deleted from hElp3. These data suggest that hElp3 can regulate the transcription of HSP70 gene, and the HAT domain of hElp3 is essential for this function. These findings now provide novel insights and evidence of the functions of hELP3 in human cells.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(12):e29303. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although early studies demonstrated that exogenous estrogen lowered a woman's risk of cardiovascular disease, recent trials indicate that HRT actually increases the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke. However, there is no clear explanation for this discrepancy. Is estrogen a helpful or a harmful hormone in terms of cardiovascular function? This review discusses some recent findings that propose a novel mechanism which may shed significant light upon this controversy. We propose that nitric oxide synthase (NOS) expressed within the vascular wall is a target of estrogen action. Under normal conditions in younger women, the primary product of estrogen action is NO, which produces a number of beneficial effects on vascular biology. As a woman ages, however, there is evidence for loss of important molecules essential for NO production (e.g., tetrahydrobiopterin, l-arginine). As these molecules are depleted, NOS becomes increasingly "uncoupled" from NO production, and instead produces superoxide, a dangerous reactive oxygen species. We propose that a similar uncoupling and reversal of estrogen response occurs in diabetes. Therefore, we propose that estrogen is neither "good" nor "bad", but simply stimulates NOS activity. It is the biochemical environment around NOS that will determine whether estrogen produces a beneficial (NO) or deleterious (superoxide) product, and can account for this dual and opposite nature of estrogen pharmacology. Further, this molecular mechanism is consistent with recent analyses revealing that HRT produces salutary effects in younger women, but mainly increases the risk of cardiovascular dysfunction in older postmenopausal women.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Large conductance, calcium- and voltage-activated potassium (BK(Ca)) channels are important modulators of pulmonary vascular smooth muscle membrane potential, and phosphorylation of BK(Ca) channels by protein kinases regulates pulmonary arterial smooth muscle function. However, little is known about the effect of phosphorylating specific channel subunits on BK(Ca) channel activity. The present study was done to determine the effect of mutating protein kinase C (PKC) phosphorylation site serine 1076 (S1076) on transfected human BK(Ca) channel alpha-subunits in human embryonic kidney (HEK-293) cells, a heterologous expression system devoid of endogenous BK(Ca) channels. Results showed that mutating S1076 altered the effect of PKC activation on BK(Ca) channels in HEK-293 cells. Specifically, the phospho-deficient mutation BK(Ca)-alpha(S1076A)/beta(1) attenuated the excitatory effect of the PKC activator phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) on BK(Ca) channels, whereas the phospho-mimetic mutation BK(Ca)-alpha(S1076E)/beta(1) increased the excitatory effect of PMA on BK(Ca) channels. In addition, the phospho-null mutation S1076A blocked the activating effect of cGMP-dependent protein kinase G (PKG) on BK(Ca) channels. Collectively, these results suggest that specific putative PKC phosphorylation site(s) on human BK(Ca) channel alpha-subunits influences BK(Ca) channel activity, which may subsequently alter pulmonary vascular smooth muscle function and tone.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Under normal physiological conditions, estrogen is a coronary vasodilator, and this response involves production of NO from endothelial cells. In addition, estrogen also stimulates NO production in coronary artery smooth muscle (CASM); however, the molecular basis for this nongenomic effect of estrogen is unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate a potential role for the 90-kDa heat shock protein (Hsp90) in estrogen-stimulated neuronal nitric-oxide synthase (nNOS) activity in coronary artery smooth muscle. 17Beta-estradiol produced a concentration-dependent relaxation of endothelium-denuded porcine coronary arteries in vitro, and this response was attenuated by inhibiting Hsp90 function with 1 microM geldanamycin (GA) or 100 microg/ml radicicol (RAD). These inhibitors also prevented estrogen-stimulated NO production in human CASM cells and reversed the stimulatory effect of estrogen on calcium-activated potassium (BK(Ca)) channels. These functional studies indicated a role for Hsp90 in coupling estrogen receptor activation to NOS stimulation in CASM. Furthermore, coimmunoprecipitation studies demonstrated that estrogen stimulates bimolecular interaction of immunoprecipitated nNOS with Hsp90 and that either GA or RAD could inhibit this association. Blocking estrogen receptors with ICI182780 (fulvestrant) also prevented this association. These findings indicate an essential role for Hsp90 in nongenomic estrogen signaling in CASM and further suggest that Hsp90 might represent a prospective therapeutic target to enhance estrogen-stimulated cardiovascular protection.
Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 04/2009; 329(3):850-5. · 3.89 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a devastating disease characterized by progressive elevation of pulmonary arterial pressure and vascular resistance due to pulmonary vasoconstriction and vessel remodeling as well as inflammation. Rho-kinases (ROCKs) are one of the best-described effectors of the small G-protein RhoA, and ROCKs are involved in a variety of cellular functions including muscle cell contraction, proliferation and vascular inflammation through inhibition of myosin light chain phosphatase and activation of downstream mediators. A plethora of evidence in animal models suggests that heightened RhoA/ROCK signaling is important in the pathogenesis of pulmonary hypertension by causing enhanced constriction and remodeling of the pulmonary vasculature. Both animal and clinical studies suggest that ROCK inhibitors are effective for treatment of severe PAH with minimal risk, which supports the premise that ROCKs are important therapeutic targets in pulmonary hypertension and that ROCK inhibitors are a promising new class of drugs for this devastating disease.
Vascular Health and Risk Management 02/2009; 5:663-71.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BKCa channels regulate pulmonary arterial pressure, and protein kinase C (PKC) inhibits BK(Ca) channels, but little is known about PKC-mediated modulation of BKCa channel activity in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle. Studies were carried out to determine mechanisms of PKC modulation of BKCa channel activity in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMC) of the fawn-hooded rat (FHR), an animal model of pulmonary hypertension. Forskolin opened BKCa channels in FHR PASMC, which was blocked by PKC activation, and reversed by the phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors IBMX, milrinone, and zaprinast. PDE inhibition also blocked the vasoconstrictor response to PKC activation in FHR pulmonary arteries. These results indicate that PKC inhibits cAMP-induced activation of BKCa channels and causes pulmonary vasoconstriction in hypertensive pulmonary arterial smooth muscle via PDE, which further suggests PDE inhibitors for treatment of pulmonary hypertension.
Therapeutic Advances in Respiratory Disease 07/2008; 2(3):119-27.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The epoxygenase metabolite, 11, 12-epoxyeicosatrienoic acid (11, 12-EET), has renal vascular actions. 11, 12-EET analogs have been developed to determine the structure activity relationship for 11, 12-EET and as a tool to investigate signaling mechanisms responsible for afferent arteriolar dilation. We hypothesized that 11, 12-EET mediated afferent arteriolar dilation involves increased phosphoprotein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) and large-conductance calcium activated K+ (KCa) channels. We evaluated the chemically and/or metabolically table 11, 12-EET analogs: 11, 12-EET-N-methylsulfonimide (11, 12-EET-SI), 11-nonyloxy-undec-8(Z)-enoic acid (11, 12-ether-EET-8-ZE), and 11, 12-trans-oxidoeicosa-8(Z)-eonoic acid (11, 12-tetra-EET-8-ZE). Afferent arteriolar responses were assessed. Activation of KCa channels by 11, 12-EET analogs were established by single cell channel recordings in renal myocytes. Assessment of renal vascular responses revealed that 11, 12-EET analogs increased afferent arteriolar diameter. Vasodilator responses to 11, 12-EET analogs were abolished by K+ channel or PP2A inhibition. 11, 12-EET analogs activated renal myocyte large-conductance KCa channels. 11, 12-EET analogs increased cAMP by 2-fold and PP2A activity increased 3-8 fold in renal myocytes. PP2A inhibition did not significantly affect the 11, 12-EET analog mediated increase in cAMP and PP2A increased renal myocyte KCa channel activity to a much greater extent than PKA. These data support the concept that 11, 12-EET utilizes PP2A dependent pathways to activate large-conductance KCa channels and dilate the afferent arteriole.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sex steroids exert profound and controversial effects on cardiovascular function. For example, estrogens have been reported to either ameliorate or exacerbate coronary heart disease. Although estrogen dilates coronary arteries from a variety of species, the molecular basis for this acute, nongenomic effect is unclear. Moreover, we know very little of how estrogen affects human coronary artery smooth muscle cells (HCASMC). The purpose of this study was to elucidate nongenomic estrogen signal transduction in HCASMC. We have used tissue (arterial tension studies), cellular (single-channel patch clamp, fluorescence), and molecular (protein expression) techniques to now identify novel targets of estrogen action in HCASMC: type I (neuronal) nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-kinase)Akt. 17beta-Estradiol (E(2)) increased NO-stimulated fluorescence in HCASMC, and cell-attached patch-clamp experiments revealed that stimulation of nNOS leads to increased activity of calcium-activated potassium (BK(Ca)) channels in these cells. Furthermore, overexpression of nNOS protein in HCASMC greatly enhanced BK(Ca) channel activity. Immunoblot studies demonstrated that E(2) enhances Akt phosphorylation in HCASMC and that wortmannin, an inhibitor of PI3-kinase, attenuated E(2)-stimulated channel activity, NO production, Akt phosphorylation, and estrogen-stimulated coronary relaxation. These studies implicate the PI3-kinase/Akt signaling axis as an estrogen transduction component in vascular smooth muscle cells. We conclude, therefore, that estrogen opens BK(Ca) channels in HCASMC by stimulating nNOS via a transduction sequence involving PI3-kinase and Akt. These findings now provide a molecular mechanism that can explain the clinical observation that estrogen enhances coronary blood flow in patients with diseased or damaged coronary arteries.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs) are considered to be endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factors, and are potent activators of the large-conductance, Ca(2+)-activated K(+) (BK(Ca)) channel in vascular smooth muscle. Here, we investigate the signal transduction pathway involved in the activation of BK(Ca) channels by 11,12-EET and 11,12-EET stable analogs in rat mesenteric vascular smooth muscle cells. 11,12-EET and the 11,12-EET analogs, 11-nonyloxy-undec-8(Z)-enoic acid (11,12-ether-EET-8-ZE), 11-(9-hydroxy-nonyloxy)-undec-8(Z)-enoic acid (11,12-ether-EET-8-ZE-OH) and 11,12-trans-oxidoeicosa-8(Z)-enoic acid (11,12-tetra-EET-8-ZE), caused vasorelaxation of mesenteric resistance arteries. Mesenteric myocyte whole-cell (perforated-patch) currents were substantially (approximately 150%) increased by 11,12-EET and 11,12-EET analogs. Single-channel recordings were conducted to identify the target for 11,12-EET. 11,12-EET and 11,12-EET analogs also increased mesenteric myocyte BK(Ca) channel activity in cell-attached patches. Similar results were obtained in cell-free patches. Baseline mesenteric myocyte BK(Ca) channel activity (NPo) in cell-free patches averaged less than 0.001 at +50 mV and 11,12-EET (1 micromol/L) increased NPo to 0.03+/-0.02 and 11,12-EET analogs (1 micromol/L) increased NPo to 0.09+/-0.006. Inhibition of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) activity with okadaic acid (10 nmol/L) completely reversed 11,12-EET stimulated BK(Ca) channel activity and greatly attenuated 11,12-ether-EET-8-ZE mesenteric resistance artery vasorelaxation. 11,12-EET and 11,12-EET analogs increased mesenteric myocyte PP2A activity by 3.5-fold. Okadaic acid and the EET inhibitor, 14,15-epoxyeicosa-5(Z)-enoic acid (14,15-EEZE) inhibited the 11,12-EET mediated increase in PP2A activity. These findings provide initial evidence that PP2A activity contributes to 11,12-EET and 11,12-EET analog activation of mesenteric resistant artery BK(Ca) channels and vasorelaxation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pericytes exert an important influence on the control of retinal blood flow; however, little is known regarding the molecular basis of retinal pericyte excitability. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the signaling pathway of how prostacyclin (PGI2), an important endogenous regulator of retinal blood flow, stimulates potassium channel activity in retinal pericytes. Retinal pericytes were isolated from porcine eyeballs and plated on glass coverslips. Immunocytochemistry was performed to verify expression of the pericyte-specific ganglioside marker, 3G5 and smooth muscle alpha-actin. Activity of the large-conductance, voltage- and calcium-activated potassium (BKCa) channel was measured in retinal pericytes via single-channel patch-clamp, and channel identification was confirmed via biophysical and pharmacological characterization. PGI2 (10 microM) or beraprost (30 microM; more stable prostacyclin analog) dramatically stimulated the activity of BKCa channels isolated in cell-attached patches. These experiments strongly suggested that PGI2 stimulated BKCa channel activity via a diffusible second messenger. Similarly, chlorophenylthio (CPT)-cAMP (100 microM; membrane permeable cAMP derivative) induced a significant increase in BKCa channel activity; however, inhibition of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) with 300 nM KT5720 could not reverse the stimulatory effect of either PGI2 or CPT-cAMP. In contrast, activation of BK(Ca) channels with either CPT-cAMP or PGI2 was abolished by 300 nM KT5823 (n=5, p<0.01), an inhibitor of the cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG). In addition, PGI2-stimulated channel activity was also attenuated by Rp-8-CPT-cGMPS, which inhibits PKG activity via a different mechanism. These findings demonstrate that prostacyclin, the most abundant prostanoid in the retinal circulation, is a potent stimulator of BKCa channel activity in retinal pericytes. Interestingly, this response appears to involve cAMP-stimulated cross-activation of PKG, and not PKA. Taken together, these findings could explain, at least in part, the cellular/molecular basis for PGI2-induced pericyte relaxation and augmentation of blood flow in the retina. Further, we propose PKG-dependent stimulation of BKCa channel activity as a new potential therapeutic target to combat decreased retinal blood flow seen in some disease states (e.g., diabetic retinopathy).
Experimental Eye Research 01/2007; 83(6):1359-65. · 3.03 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pleiotropic effects of estrogen are mediated via stimulation of two estrogen receptor (ER) subtypes, ERalpha and ERbeta. Although a number of studies have identified expression of one or both subtypes in estrogen target tissues, fewer studies have correlated ER expression with a functional role of these proteins in regulating cellular excitability. In the present study, we have combined cellular fluorescence, immunocytochemistry, and molecular expression techniques with single-channel patch-clamp studies to determine which ER mediates estrogen-stimulated potassium channel activity in human coronary artery smooth muscle cells (HCASMC). We had demonstrated previously that estrogen stimulates activity of the large-conductance, calcium- and voltage-activated potassium (BK(Ca)) channel in HCASMC via a nongenomic mechanism. We now demonstrate expression of both ERalpha and ERbeta subtypes in HCASMC. Functionally, however, expression of ERalpha antisense plasmid abolished the acute effect of estrogen on these channels, whereas estrogen retained its ability to stimulate BK(Ca) channels in cells transfected with only green fluorescence protein. In contrast, overexpression of ERalpha enhanced the stimulatory action of estrogen in HCASMC. Transfection with ERalpha antisense/sense plasmid did not alter ERbeta expression. These findings indicate that the ERalpha isoform mediates estrogen-induced stimulation of BK(Ca) channels in HCASMC and thereby provide evidence for a receptor-dependent signaling mechanism that can mediate estrogen-induced inhibition of cellular excitability.
Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 04/2006; 316(3):1025-30. · 3.89 Impact Factor