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Hypertension. 1998 Jan;31(1 Pt 2):248-53.

Lysophosphatidylcholine stimulates MAP kinase activity in rat vascular smooth muscle cells.

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Department of Biochemistry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA.


Lysophosphatidylcholine (lyso-PC) has been implicated in atherogenesis and the inflammatory process. Although lyso-PC has been reported to contribute to the mitogenic effect of oxidized LDL on rat cultured vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), the signaling mechanisms by which lyso-PC promotes its proliferation are poorly characterized. Mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases are important mediators involved in the intracellular network of interacting proteins that transduces extracellular cues to intracellular responses. We therefore examined the effect of lyso-PC on MAP kinase activation, proto-oncogene expression, and AP-1 binding activity using cultured rat VSMC. Marked activation of MAP kinase occurred within 10 minutes of lyso-PC treatment, whereupon rapid inactivation ensued. MAP kinase activation by lyso-PC was concentration-dependent (6.25 to 25 micromol/L). Pertussis toxin treatment did not affect lyso-PC-induced MAP kinase phosphorylation. Lyso-PC (25 micromol/L) also increased the mRNA expression of c-fos and c-jun genes. An electrophoretic mobility shift assay showed that AP-1 binding activity was enhanced by lyso-PC. To examine the upstream signaling of MAP kinase, we used several inhibitors on MAP kinase activation induced by lyso-PC. Although lyso-PC induced sustained increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration, EGTA had no effect on MAP kinase activation induced by lyso-PC. However, protein kinase C inhibitor GF109203X and downregulation of protein kinase C activity by prolonged treatment with phorbol ester inhibited lyso-PC-induced MAP kinase activation. These data suggest that lyso-PC transmits its mitogenic activity through a MAP kinase-AP-1 pathway, which exists downstream of its protein kinase C activation in VSMCs.

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