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Endocrinology. 1996 Jun;137(6):2572-9.

Prostaglandin E2 activates phospholipase C and elevates intracellular calcium in cultured myometrial cells: involvement of EP1 and EP3 receptor subtypes.

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  • 1Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, United Kingdom.


PGE2 is a powerful modulator of uterine contractility, but there is uncertainty as to which receptor subtypes (EP1, EP2, EP3, or EP4), G proteins, and second messenger systems are activated by PGE2 in myometrium. Here we show that in cultured human myometrial cells, PGE2 (1-100 microM) activates phospholipase C (PLC) up to 500% over the control level and elevates intracellular calcium ([Ca2+]i) from the resting level of 60-90 nM up to 350 nM in a concentration-dependent manner. Stimulation by the receptor subtype-selective analogs GR63799X (EP3), sulprostone (EP3 > EP1), and misoprostol (EP3 > EP2 > EP1) indicates that these effects are transmitted through EP3 receptors. Both effects are resistant to pertussis toxin (PT). Lower concentrations of PGE2 (1-300 nM) increase [Ca2+]i via a PT-sensitive pathway, without PLC activation. This [Ca2+]i increase occurs after an inverse dose-related delay and is inhibited by the selective EP1 antagonist AH6809 and calcium channel blockers. By comparison, oxytocin stimulates PLC up to 1000% over the control level and elevates [Ca2+]i up to 800 nM in a concentration-dependent manner without any measurable delay; both effects are partly sensitive to PT. These data provide functional evidence for the presence of different stimulatory mechanisms for PGE2 in myometrium: 1) a low affinity receptor (probably EP3D) that activates PLC through a PT-insensitive pathway; and 2) a high affinity receptor (probably EP1), independent from PLC and involving a PT-sensitive G protein (G(i)?). Both pathways lead to elevation of [Ca2+]i.

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