COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade is necessary but not sufficient for basic fibroblast growth factor- and epidermal growth factor-stimulated expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase in ovine fetoplacental artery endothelial cells

J Zheng, I M Bird, A N Melsaether, R R Magness
Endocrinology 1999, 140 (3): 1399-407
10067868
Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) may play important roles in the placental vasculature, not only by controlling cell growth and differentiation, but also by mediating production of local vasodilators such as nitric oxide. As the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signal cascade has been widely associated with cell growth in response to growth factors, herein we investigate whether bFGF, EGF, and VEGF also stimulate expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) via activation of the MAPK cascade in ovine fetoplacental artery endothelial cells. The presence of the receptors for all three growth factors was confirmed by both immunocytochemistry and a functional cell proliferation assay. All three growth factors at 10 ng/ml rapidly (<10 min) activated MAPK. This activation was inhibited by PD 98059, a specific MAPK kinase inhibitor. bFGF and EGF, but not VEGF, dose- and time-dependently increased eNOS protein levels. Maximal stimulatory effects of bFGF and EGF on eNOS protein expression were observed at 10 ng/ml for 24 h of treatment and were associated with elevated eNOS messenger RNA. PD 98059 also significantly inhibited bFGF- and EGF-induced increases in eNOS protein expression. Because treatment with all three growth factors resulted in activation of the MAPK cascade, while bFGF and EGF, but not VEGF, increased eNOS expression, we conclude that activation of the MAPK cascade is necessary, but not sufficient, for bFGF- and EGF-induced increases in eNOS protein expression in ovine fetoplacental artery endothelial cells. Thus, additional signaling pathways are implicated in the different controls of eNOS expression and mitogenesis by growth factors.

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