COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Importance of ERK1/2 in upregulation of endothelin type B receptors in cerebral arteries

Marie Henriksson, Cang-Bao Xu, Lars Edvinsson
British Journal of Pharmacology 2004, 142 (7): 1155-61
15237095
This study examines the importance of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in upregulation of endothelin type B (ETB) receptors. Rat middle cerebral arteries (MCAs) were incubated for 24 h with or without kinase inhibitors. Vessel segments were mounted in myographs and the contractile responses to endothelin-1 (ET-1; ETA and ETB receptor agonist) and sarafotoxin 6c (S6c; ETB receptor agonist) were studied. We used real-time PCR to measure the receptor mRNA levels. An ELISA assay showed the activation of ERK1/2 kinases after 3 h. Immunohistochemistry revealed the presence of ETB receptors on the vessels. After organ culture, S6c induced vasoconstriction. Incubation with the MEK/ERK inhibitors U0126 and SB386023 diminished the contractile response to S6c. The p38 MAPK inhibitor SB239063 did not affect the S6c-induced contraction. The ET-1-induced vasoconstriction was increased after incubation with SB386023 or SB239063, while unaffected by U0126. The ETB receptor mRNA levels were diminished by SB386023 and U0126. The ETA receptor mRNA levels were unaffected. The levels of activated ERK1/2 kinases were significantly higher after 3 h of organ culture as compared to fresh vessels. The level of ETB receptor protein on the smooth muscle cells of the MCA, visualised by immunohistochemistry, was somewhat diminished by SB386023. Our results show that the ERK1/2 MAPK is important in the upregulation of contractile ETB receptors in MCA after organ culture. Since there is a similar upregulation in models of focal ischaemia and subarachnoid haemorrhage, this may be an important pathophysiological event.

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