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Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 Jan;242(1-2):181-7.

Involvement of mitogen-activated protein kinases and reactive oxygen species in the inotropic action of ouabain on cardiac myocytes. A potential role for mitochondrial K(ATP) channels.

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Department of Pharmacology, Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, OH 43614-5804, USA.


Binding of ouabain to Na+/K+-ATPase activated multiple signal transduction pathways including stimulation of Src, Ras, p42/44 MAPKs and production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in rat cardiac myocytes. Inhibition of either Src or Ras ablated ouabain-induced increase in both [Ca2+]i and contractility. While PD98059 abolished the effects of ouabain on [Ca2+]i it only caused a partial inhibition of ouabain-induced increases in contractility. On the other hand, pre-incubation of myocytes with N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) reduced the effects of ouabain on contractility, but not [Ca2+]i. Furthermore, 5-hydroxydecanoate (5-HD) blocked ouabain-induced ROS production and partially inhibited ouabain-induced increases in contractility in cardiac myocytes. Pre-incubation of myocytes with both 5-HD and PD98059 completely blocked ouabain's effect on contractility. Finally, we found that opening of mitochondrial K(ATP) channel by diazoxide increased intracellular ROS and significantly raised contractility in cardiac myocytes. These new findings indicate that ouabain regulates cardiac contractility via both [Ca2+]i and ROS. While activation of MAPKs leads to increases in [Ca2+]i, opening of mitochondrial K(ATP) channel relays the ouabain signal to increased ROS production in cardiac myocytes.

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