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.
Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and inflammation are key pathophysiological features of asthma. Enhanced contraction of bronchial smooth muscle (BSM) is one of the causes of the AHR. It is thus important for development of asthma therapy to understand the change in the contractile signaling of airway smooth muscle cells associated with the AHR. In addition to the Ca2+-mediated phosphorylation of myosin light chain (MLC), contractile agonists also enhance MLC phosphorylation level, Ca2+-independently, by inactivating MLC phosphatase (MLCP), called Ca2+ sensitization of contraction, in smooth muscle cells including airways. To date, involvements of RhoA/ROCKs and PKC/Ppp1r14a (also called as CPI-17) pathways in the Ca2+ sensitization have been identified. Our previous studies revealed that the agonist-induced Ca2+ sensitization of contraction is markedly augmented in BSMs of animal models of allergen-induced AHR. In BSMs of these animal models, the expression of RhoA and CPI-17 proteins were significantly increased, indicating that both the Ca2+ sensitizing pathways are augmented. Interestingly, incubation of BSM cells with asthma-associated cytokines, such as interleukin-13 (IL-13), IL-17, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), caused up-regulations of RhoA and CPI-17 in BSM cells of naive animals and cultured human BSM cells. In addition to the transcription factors such as STAT6 and NF-κB activated by these inflammatory cytokines, an involvement of down-regulation of miR-133a, a microRNA that negatively regulates RhoA translation, has also been suggested in the IL-13- and IL-17-induced up-regulation of RhoA. Thus, the Ca2+ sensitizing pathways and the cytokine-mediated signaling including microRNAs in BSMs might be potential targets for treatment of allergic asthma, especially the AHR.
Background This study aimed to evaluate the effects of the position of an acetic acid-induced gastric ulcer and the effects of prokinetic drugs on gastric emptying. Materials and Methods Male Sprague-Dawley rats were used in this study. Acetic acid ulcers were induced either in the region between the fundus and pylorus on the anterior wall of the stomach or in the glandular region on the greater curvature of the stomach to determine whether there were regional differences in the effect of the ulcers. Gastric emptying was evaluated with a breath test using [1-13C] acetic acid. In addition, the effects of the prokinetic drugs, metoclopramide and mosapride, on gastric emptying were also evaluated. Results Acetic acid induced ulcers in the region between the fundus and pylorus on the anterior wall of the stomach significantly delayed gastric emptying as compared with control rats, but not the acetic acid induced ulcers in the glandular region on the greater curvature of the stomach. Metoclopramide and mosapride did not improve the delayed gastric emptying even at doses that enhanced gastric emptying in normal rats. Conclusion These findings show that gastric emptying is influenced by the position of the ulcer and the region between the fundus and pylorus on the anterior wall plays an important role in gastric emptying. Moreover, it was found that metoclopramide and mosapride do not improve the delayed gastric emptying caused by acetic acid ulcers induced on the anterior wall in the region between the fundus and pylorus.
The prostate is a gland whose secretions contribute to the seminal fluids ejaculated upon activation of autonomic sympathetic nerves. In elder males, the prostate undergoes an increase in stroma mass and myogenic tone, leading to benign prostatic hyperplasia that occludes the proximal urethra and the presentation of various lower urinary tract symptoms that decrease their quality of life. This review summarises the role of prostatic interstitial cells (PICs) in the generation of the spontaneous tone in the prostate. It presents current knowledge of the role of Ca2+ plays in PIC pacemaking, as well as the mechanisms by which this spontaneous activity triggers slow wave generation and stromal contraction. PICs display a small T-type Ca2+ current (ICaT) and a large L-type Ca2+ current (ICaL). In contrast to other interstitial cells in the urinary and gastrointestinal tracts, spontaneous Ca2+ signalling in PICs is uniquely dependent on Ca2+ influx through ICaL channels. A model of prostatic pacemaking is presented describing how ICaL can be triggered by an initial membrane depolarization evoked upon the selective opening of Ca2+-activated Cl– channels by Ca2+ flowing only through ICaT channels. The resulting current flow through ICaL results in release of Ca2+ from internal stores and the summation of Cl–-selective spontaneous transient depolarizations (STDs) to form pacemaker potentials that propagate passively into the prostatic stroma to evoke regenerative action potentials and excitation-contraction coupling.
Background: Ex situ analyses of human myometrial tissue has been used to investigate the regulation of uterine quiescence and transition to a contractile phenotype. Following concerns about the validity of cultured primary cells, we examined whether myometrial tissue undergoes culture-induced changes ex situ that may affect the validity of in vitro models. Objectives: To determine whether human myometrial tissue undergoes culture-induced changes ex situ in Estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1), Prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 (PTGS2) and Oxytocin receptor (OXTR) expression. Additionally, to determine whether culture conditions approaching the in vivo environment influence the expression of these key genes. Methods: Term non-laboring human myometrial tissues were cultured in the presence of specific treatments, including; serum supplementation, progesterone and estrogen, cAMP, PMA, stretch or NF-κB inhibitors. ESR1, PTGS2 and OXTR mRNA abundance after 48 h culture was determined using quantitative RT-PCR. Results: Myometrial tissue in culture exhibited culture-induced up-regulation of ESR1 and PTGS2 and down-regulation of OXTR mRNA expression. Progesterone prevented culture-induced increase in ESR1 expression. Estrogen further up-regulated PTGS2 expression. Stretch had no direct effect, but blocked the effects of progesterone and estrogen on ESR1 and PTGS2 expression. cAMP had no effect whereas PMA further up-regulated PTGS2 expression and prevented decline of OXTR expression. Conclusion: Human myometrial tissue in culture undergoes culture-induced gene expression changes consistent with transition toward a laboring phenotype. Changes in ESR1, PTGS2 and OXTR expression could not be controlled simultaneously. Until optimal culture conditions are determined, results of in vitro experiments with myometrial tissues should be interpreted with caution.
The role of mast cells in contractile bronchial smooth muscle activity has been evaluated in a model of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease induced in rats that were intermittently exposed to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) for 60 days. Starting from the 31st day, one group of rats inhaled sodium cromoglycate before exposure to NO2 to stabilize mast cell membranes. The second group (control) was not treated. Isometric smooth muscle contraction was analysed in isolated bronchial samples in response to nerve and smooth muscle stimulation. Histological analysis revealed large numbers of mast cells in lung tissue of COPD model rats. The inhibition of mast cell degranulation by sodium cromoglycate prevented the development of nerve-stimulated bronchial smooth muscle hyperactivity in COPD model rats. Histamine or adenosine-induced hyperactivity on nerve stimulation was also inhibited by sodium cromoglycate in bronchial smooth muscle in both control and COPD model rats. This suggests that the mechanism of contractile activity enhancement of bronchial wall smooth muscle cells may be mediated through the activation of resident mast cells transmembrane adenosine receptors resulting in their partial degranulation, with the released histamine acting upon histamine H1-receptors which trigger reflex pathways via intramural ganglion neurons.