A hallmark of smooth muscle cells is their ability to adapt their functions to meet temporal and chronic fluctuations in their demands. These functions include force development and growth. Understanding the mechanisms underlying the functional plasticity of smooth muscles, the major constituent of organ walls, is fundamental to elucidating pathophysiological rationales of failures of organ functions. Also, the knowledge is expected to facilitate devising innovative strategies that more precisely monitor and normalize organ functions by targeting individual smooth muscles. Evidence has established a current paradigm that the myosin light chain phosphatase (MLCP) is a master regulator of smooth muscle responsiveness to stimuli. Cellular MLCP activity is negatively and positively regulated in response to G-protein activation and cAMP/cGMP production, respectively, through the MYPT1 regulatory subunit and an endogenous inhibitor protein named CPI-17. In this article we review the outcomes from two decade of research on the CPI-17 signaling and discuss emerging paradoxes in the view of signaling pathways regulating smooth muscle functions through MLCP.
Background Recently, we showed that long-term angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) administration induced unusual proliferative changes in smooth muscle cells (SMCs) of afferent arterioles of the kidneys of Zucker fatty rats (ZFRs). In this study, we investigated renal afferent arteriolar changes induced by the long-term administration of an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) in ZFRs. Materials and Methods Fourteen 6-week-old male ZFRs were divided into two groups (n=14): the ZFR+ACEI group (n=6) was fed a standard diet containing ACEI (Enalapril, 2 mg/kg/day), and the ZFR control group (n=8) for 12 weeks. Blood pressure and proteinuria were examined and morphological studies on kidneys were performed. Results Remarkable proliferative changes in the afferent arteriolar SMCs were frequently observed in the group given ACEI; (66.1 ± 12.9%) compared with the control group (1.77 ± 1.56%, P<0.001). Conclusions It was indicated that long-term ACEI administration induced unusual proliferative changes in SMCs in afferent arterioles of ZFRs. These changes could reduce intraglomerular pressure by narrowing the lumens of afferent arterioles, but they could cause irreversible damage to the arterioles.
The skin of the lemur nose tip (rhinarium) has arterioles in the outer vascular plexus that are endowed with an unusual coat of smooth muscle cells. Comparison with the arterioles of the same area in a number of unrelated mammalians shows that the lemur pattern is unique. The vascular smooth muscle cells belong to the synthetic type. The function of synthetic smooth muscles around the terminal vessels in the lemur rhinarium is unclear but may have additional functions beyond regulation of vessel diameter.