Unraveling endothelin-1 induced hypercontractility of human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells from patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension

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Abstract

Contraction of human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (HPASMC) isolated from pulmonary arterial hypertensive (PAH) and normal (non-PAH) subject lungs was determined and measured with real-time electrical impedance. Treatment of HPASMC with vasoactive peptides, endothelin-1 (ET-1) and bradykinin (BK) but not angiotensin II, induced a temporal decrease in the electrical impedance profile mirroring constrictive morphological change of the cells which typically was more robust in PAH as opposed to non-PAH cells. Inhibition with LIMKi3 and a cofilin targeted motif mimicking cell permeable peptide (MMCPP) had no effect on ET-1 induced HPASMC contraction indicating a negligible role for these actin regulatory proteins. On the other hand, a MMCPP blocking the activity of caldesmon reduced ET-1 promoted contraction pointing to a regulatory role of this protein and its activation pathway in HPASMC contraction. Inhibition of this MEK/ERK/p90RSK pathway, which is an upstream regulator of caldesmon phosphorylation, reduced ET-1 induced cell contraction. While the regulation of ET-1 induced cell contraction was found to be similar in PAH and non-PAH cells, a key difference was the response to pharmacological inhibitors and to siRNA knockdown of Rho kinases (ROCK1/ROCK2). The PAH cells required much higher concentrations of inhibitors to abrogate ET-1 induced contractions and their contraction was not affected by siRNA against either ROCK1 or ROCK2. Lastly, blocking of L-type and T-type Ca2+ channels had no effect on ET-1 or BK induced contraction. However, inhibiting the activity of the sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase blunted ET-1 and BK induced HPASMC contraction in both PAH and non-PAH derived HPASMC. In summary, our findings here together with previous communications illustrate similarities and differences in the regulation PAH and non-PAH smooth muscle cell contraction relating to calcium translocation, RhoA/ROCK signaling and the activity of caldesmon. These findings may provide useful tools in achieving the regulation of the vascular hypercontractility taking place in PAH.

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Wilson, J. L., Warburton, R., Taylor, L., Toksoz, D., Hill, N., & Polgar, P. (2018). Unraveling endothelin-1 induced hypercontractility of human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells from patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. PLoS ONE, 13(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0195780

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