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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2008 Jun;86(6):337-42. doi: 10.1139/Y08-024.

Role of endothelin receptors on basal and endothelin-1-stimulated lung myofibroblast proliferation.

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Research Centre, Montreal Heart Institute and Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC H1T1C8, Canada.


Proliferation of myofibroblasts (MYF) contributes to numerous lung disorders. Endothelin-1 (ET-1) production is increased in various lung diseases and could contribute to lung remodelling. The respective roles of ETA and ETB receptors (ETA-R, ETB-R) and the role of endogenous ET-1 production by lung MYF on proliferation of MYF remain uncertain. Rat lung MYF were isolated and 3H-thymidine and 3H-leucine incorporation assays were completed in the presence of a selective ETA-R antagonist, a selective ETB-R antagonist, or a combination of both. Receptor expression was evaluated by confocal imaging, and ET-1 levels were measured by ELISA. Confocal microscopy revealed abundant ETA-R and ETB-R expression on lung MYF. ET-1 (10 nmol/L) stimulated MYF proliferation and protein synthesis through PI3-kinase and p38 pathways. Although neither selective ETA-R blockade (BQ-123, 1 micromol/L) nor selective ETB-R blockade (BQ-788, 1 micromol/L) alone inhibited proliferation or protein synthesis, their combination almost completely abolished ET-1 mitogenic effect. Surprisingly, basal MYF proliferation was increased by selective blockade of either ETA-R or ETB-R alone, but not by dual blockade. ET-1 levels were not affected by the antagonists. Our findings indicate that both the ETA-R and the ETB-R regulate basal and stimulated lung MYF proliferation and suggest possible interactions between the receptors.

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