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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2007 Nov;293(5):C1489-97. Epub 2007 Aug 29.

Association of PI3K-Akt signaling pathway with digitalis-induced hypertrophy of cardiac myocytes.

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Department of Physiology, Pharmacology, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Sciences, The University of Toledo College of Medicine, Toledo, Ohio 43614-2598, USA.


Our previous studies on cardiac myocytes showed that positive inotropic concentrations of the digitalis drug ouabain activated signaling pathways linked to Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase through Src and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and led to myocyte hypertrophy. In view of the known involvement of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt pathways in cardiac hypertrophy, the aim of the present study was to determine whether these pathways are also linked to cardiac Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase and, if so, to assess their role in ouabain-induced myocyte growth. In a dose- and time-dependent manner, ouabain activated Akt and phosphorylation of its substrates mammalian target of rapamycin and glycogen synthase kinase in neonatal rat cardiac myocytes. Akt activation by ouabain was sensitive to PI3K inhibitors and was also noted in adult myocytes and isolated hearts. Ouabain caused a transient increase of phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate content of neonatal myocytes, activated class IA, but not class IB, PI3K, and increased coimmunoprecipitation of the alpha-subunit of Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase with the p85 subunit of class IA PI3K. Ouabain-induced activation of ERK1/2 was prevented by Src, EGFR, and MEK inhibitors, but not by PI3K inhibitors. Activation of Akt by ouabain, however, was sensitive to inhibitors of PI3K and Src, but not to inhibitors of EGFR and MEK. Similarly, ouabain-induced myocyte hypertrophy was prevented by PI3K and Src inhibitors, but not by an EGFR inhibitor. These findings 1) establish the linkage of the class IA PI3K-Akt pathway to Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase and the essential role of this linkage to ouabain-induced myocyte hypertrophy and 2) suggest cross talk between these PI3K-Akt pathways and the signaling cascades previously identified to be associated with cardiac Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase.

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