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Toxicol Lett. 2006 Aug 20;165(2):133-41. Epub 2006 Mar 29.

Effects of benzo-a-pyrene on oxytocin-induced Ca2+ oscillations in myometrial cells.

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Depatrment of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4458, USA.


Benzo-a-pyrene (BaP) is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon that exists as a major environmental pollutant. The effect of this carcinogen/mutagen upon myometrial Ca(2+) signaling in a human myometrial cell line (PHM1) was examined. Exposure of cells to BaP did not alter basal Ca(2+) levels or the inositol(1,4,5) trisphosphate-releasable Ca(2+) pool. However, BaP significantly decreased the initial oxytocin-induced Ca(2+) transient and the frequency of oxytocin-induced Ca(2+)oscillations as well as delayed their onset. To determine the specific effects of BaP, pharmacologic agents that target intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis mechanisms were used. Genistein (a non-specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor) and AG1478 (an epidermal growth factor receptor blocker) markedly reduced the oxytocin-induced Ca(2+) oscillations in control, but had no effect in BaP treated cells. Addition of epidermal growth factor or serum before or after oxytocin restored the Ca(2+) oscillations in BaP treated cells to a level similar to control cells, while the K(+) channel blocker tetraethylammonium chloride, partially restored the Ca(2+) response. These data suggest that the tyrosine kinase pathway, which is part of the G-protein coupled receptor pathway response to oxytocin in PHM1 cells, is a target of BaP action and that EGF or serum can restore the oxytocin-induced Ca(2+) oscillations.

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