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Br J Pharmacol. Nov 1998; 125(5): 1019–1027.
PMCID: PMC1565664

Effect of endothelin-1 (1-31) on extracellular signal-regulated kinase and proliferation of human coronary artery smooth muscle cells


  1. We have previously found that human chymase cleaves big endothelins (ETs) at the Tyr31-Gly32 bond and produces 31-amino acid ETs (1-31), without any further degradation products. In this study, we investigated the effect of synthetic ET-1 (1-31) on the proliferation of cultured human coronary artery smooth muscle cells (HCASMCs).
  2. ET-1 (1-31) increased [3H]-thymidine incorporation and cell numbers to a similar extent as ET-1 at 100 nM. This ET-1 (1-31)-induced [3H]-thymidine uptake was not affected by phosphoramidon, an inhibitor of ET-converting enzyme. It was, however, inhibited by BQ123, an endothelin ETA receptor antagonist, but not by BQ788, an endothelin ETB receptor antagonist.
  3. By using an in-gel kinase assay, we demonstrated that ET-1 (1-31) activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) in a concentration-dependent manner (100 pM to 1 μM) in HCASMCs. ET-1 (1-31)-induced ERK1/2 activation was inhibited by BQ123, but not by BQ788 and phosphoramidon. Inhibition of protein kinase C (PKC) and ERK kinase also caused a reduction of ET-1 (1-31)-induced ERK1/2 activation, whereas tyrosine kinase inhibition had little effect.
  4. Gel-mobility shift analysis revealed that the ERK1/2 activation was followed by an increase in transcription factor activator protein-1 DNA binding activity in HCASMCs.
  5. Our results strongly suggest that ET-1 (1-31) itself stimulates HCASMC proliferation probably through endothelin ETA or ETA-like receptors. The underlining mechanism of cell growth by ET-1 (1-31) may be explained in part by PKC-dependent ERK1/2 activation. Since human chymase has been proposed to play a role in atherosclerosis, ET-1 (1-31) may be one of the mediators.
Keywords: Endothelin-1 (1-31), human chymase, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, protein kinase C, coronary artery smooth muscle cell

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