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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2002 May;282(5):H1855-62.

Calcium- and superoxide anion-mediated mitogenic action of substance P on cardiac fibroblasts.

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  • 1Division of Cellular and Molecular Cardiology, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, India 695 011.


Substance P is released from nerve endings in the heart under pathological conditions like ischemia, but its action on cardiac cells has not been investigated. This study tested the hypothesis that substance P is mitogenic to adult cardiac fibroblasts and delineated the underlying mechanism(s). Substance P, acting via neurokinin-1 (NK-1) receptors, stimulated cellular hyperplasia over a range of 1-10 micromol/l. It elicited no change in net collagen production, total protein synthesis, or cell protein content but increased (45)Ca uptake and superoxide generation. EGTA, N-acetyl-cysteine, and superoxide dismutase attenuated the hyperplastic response to substance P. A combination of substance P and EGTA enhanced superoxide generation without an increase in DNA synthesis, showing that an increase in superoxide production does not result in hyperplasia when extracellular Ca(2+) is chelated. Together, the data suggest that substance P may activate, via NK-1 receptors, a hyperplastic but not hypertrophic response in adult cardiac fibroblasts and that alterations in redox state and Ca(2+) homeostasis may act in concert to mediate its mitogenic action.

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