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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2009 Nov;297(5):C1178-87. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00185.2009. Epub 2009 Sep 9.

Estradiol-mediated ERK phosphorylation and apoptosis in vascular smooth muscle cells requires GPR 30.

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Department of Vascular Biology Research Group, Robarts Research Institute, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada N6A 5K8.


Recent studies suggest that the rapid and nongenomic effects of estradiol may be mediated through the G protein-coupled receptor dubbed GPR30 receptor. The present study examines the role of GPR30 versus a classical estrogen receptor (ERalpha) in mediating the growth regulatory effects of estradiol. GPR30 is readily detectable in freshly isolated vascular tissue but barely detectable in cultured vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC). In freshly isolated aortic tissue, estradiol stimulated extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK) phosphorylation. In contrast, in cultured VSMC, where GPR30 expression is significantly reduced, estradiol inhibits ERK phosphorylation. Transfer of the genes encoding GPR30 led to estradiol stimulation of ERK phosphorylation, which is opposite the effects of estradiol in the primary culture of VSMCs. Transduction of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) had no effect on estradiol effects on ERK. Estradiol-mediated stimulation of ERK subsequent to heterologous GPR30 expression was pertussis toxin sensitive and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3 kinase) dependent; under these conditions, estradiol also inhibited protein kinase A (PKA). In contrast, in the absence of GPR30 expression in cultured VSMC, estradiol stimulated PKA activity and inhibited ERK phosphorylation. To determine the functional effect of GPR30 (vs. estrogen receptor expression), we assessed estradiol-mediated apoptosis. In the absence of GPR30 expression, estradiol inhibited apoptosis. This effect was enhanced with ERalpha expression. In contrast, with GPR30 expression, estradiol stimulated apoptosis in an ERK-dependent manner. Thus the effect of estradiol on vascular smooth muscle cell apoptosis is likely dependent on the balance between ER-mediated PKA activation and GPR30-mediated PKA inhibition and PI3 kinase activation. Taken together, we postulate that modulation of GPR30 expression or activity may be an important determinant of the effects of estradiol in the vasculature.

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