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FEBS Lett. 1999 Mar 12;446(2-3):236-8.

Hepoxilin signaling in intact human neutrophils: biphasic elevation of intracellular calcium by unesterified hepoxilin A3.

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  • 1Programme in Integrative Biology, Research Institute, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada.


We have previously shown that the methyl ester of hepoxilin A3 causes a receptor-induced rise in intracellular calcium through the release from intracellular stores in suspended human neutrophils. The corresponding free acid was devoid of activity. We now report that the action of the free acid form of hepoxilin A3 is dependent on the type of vehicle used, i.e. it is active in releasing calcium when used in an ethanol vehicle but not in DMSO. The methyl ester is equally active in either vehicle. The pattern of calcium release between the free acid and the methyl ester is qualitatively different. Both compounds show a biphasic pattern, i.e. an initial rapid phase followed by a slow decline in calcium levels but never reaching pre-hepoxilin A3 baseline levels. The methyl ester appears slightly more potent in the initial phase of calcium release than the free acid (methyl = 188+/-14 S.D., free acid = 135+/-11 S.D. nM, P < 0.0005). Both compounds appear to reach the same calcium levels at the plateau of the second prolonged phase (methyl = 88+/-8 S.D., free acid = 107+/-15 S.D. nM, not significant). Lanthanum chloride (an inhibitor of calcium influx) interfered with the second phase of the curve causing calcium levels to return to normal pre-hepoxilin levels for both compounds. Addition of lanthanum chloride prior to the hepoxilin addition or carrying out the experiments in calcium-free medium, eliminated the second phase completely, with the calcium peak returning rapidly to normal baseline levels, suggesting that the second phase is due to calcium influx. Again the methyl ester is more active than the free acid (methyl, 189+/-12; free acid, 145+/-6 S.D. nM, P<0.005). Additional experiments with tritium-labelled methyl ester of hepoxilin A3 demonstrated that the compound is hydrolyzed into the free acid intracellularly. These experiments demonstrate that DMSO interacts with hepoxilin free acid, interfering with its entry into the cell while ethanol does not. Once inside the cell, hepoxilin interacts with its own receptor to release calcium rapidly from stores, but it also causes a more prolonged influx of calcium from the extracellular milieu.

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