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Journal of Physiology
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cAMP-stimulated anion conductance is defective in cystic fibrosis (CF). The regulatory domain of CFTR, the anion channel protein encoded by the CF gene, possesses an unusually high density of consensus sequences for phosphorylation by protein kinase A (14 in a stretch of <200 amino acids). Thus it is not surprising that CFTR is viewed primarily as a cAMP-stimulated anion channel, and most studies have focused on this mode of activation. However, there is growing evidence that CFTR also responds to Ca2+-mobilizing secretagogues and contributes substantially to cholinergic and purinergic responses in native tissues. G protein-coupled receptors that signal through Gq can stimulate CFTR channels by activating Ca2+-dependent adenylyl cyclase and tyrosine kinases, and also by inhibiting protein phosphatase type 2A. Here we review evidence for these novel mechanisms of CFTR activation and discuss how they may help explain previous observations.
Loss of cardiomyocytes (CMs), which lack the innate ability to regenerate, due to ageing or pathophysiological conditions (e.g. myocardial infarction or MI) is generally considered irreversible, and can lead to conditions from cardiac arrhythmias to heart failure. Human (h) pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), including embryonic stem cells (ESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), can self-renew while maintaining their pluripotency to differentiate into all cell types, including CMs. Therefore, hPSCs provide a potential unlimited ex vivo source of human CMs for disease modelling, drug discovery, cardiotoxicity screening and cell-based heart therapies. As a fundamental property of working CMs, Ca2+ signalling and its role in excitation–contraction coupling are well described. However, the biology of these processes in hPSC-CMs is just becoming understood. Here we review what is known about the immature Ca2+-handling properties of hPSC-CMs, at the levels of global transients and sparks, and the underlying molecular basis in relation to the development of various in vitro approaches to drive their maturation.
The intra-cortical local field potential (LFP) reflects a variety of electrophysiological processes including synaptic inputs to neurons and their spiking activity. It is still a common assumption that removing high frequencies, often above 300 Hz, is sufficient to exclude spiking activity from LFP activity prior to analysis. Conclusions based on such supposedly spike-free LFPs can result in false interpretations of neurophysiological processes and erroneous correlations between LFPs and behaviour or spiking activity. Such findings might simply arise from spike contamination rather than from genuine changes in synaptic input activity. Although the subject of recent studies, the extent of LFP contamination by spikes is unclear, and the fundamental problem remains. Using spikes recorded in the motor cortex of the awake monkey, we investigated how different factors, including spike amplitude, duration and firing rate, together with the noise statistic, can determine the extent to which spikes contaminate intra-cortical LFPs. We demonstrate that such contamination is realistic for LFPs with a frequency down to ~10 Hz. For LFP activity below ~10 Hz, such as movement-related potential, contamination is theoretically possible but unlikely in real situations. Importantly, LFP frequencies up to the (high-) gamma band can remain unaffected. This study shows that spike–LFP crosstalk in intra-cortical recordings should be assessed for each individual dataset to ensure that conclusions based on LFP analysis are valid. To this end, we introduce a method to detect and to visualise spike contamination, and provide a systematic guide to assess spike contamination of intra-cortical LFPs.
Calcium (Ca2+) waves generating oscillatory Ca2+ signals are widely observed in biological cells. Experimental studies have shown that under certain conditions, initiation of Ca2+ waves is random in space and time, while under other conditions, waves occur repetitively from preferred locations (pacemaker sites) from which they entrain the whole cell. In this study, we use computer simulations to investigate the self-organization of Ca2+ sparks into pacemaker sites generating Ca2+ oscillations. In both ventricular myocyte experiments and computer simulations of a heterogeneous Ca2+ release unit (CRU) network model, we show that Ca2+ waves occur randomly in space and time when the Ca2+ level is low, but as the Ca2+ level increases, waves occur repetitively from the same sites. Our analysis indicates that this transition to entrainment can be attributed to the fact that random Ca2+ sparks self-organize into Ca2+ oscillations differently at low and high Ca2+ levels. At low Ca2+, the whole cell Ca2+ oscillation frequency of the coupled CRU system is much slower than that of an isolated single CRU. Compared to a single CRU, the distribution of interspike intervals (ISIs) of the coupled CRU network exhibits a greater variation, and its ISI distribution is asymmetric with respect to the peak, exhibiting a fat tail. At high Ca2+, however, the coupled CRU network has a faster frequency and lesser ISI variation compared to an individual CRU. The ISI distribution of the coupled network no longer exhibits a fat tail and is well-approximated by a Gaussian distribution. This same Ca2+ oscillation behaviour can also be achieved by varying the number of ryanodine receptors per CRU or the distance between CRUs. Using these results, we develop a theory for the entrainment of random oscillators which provides a unified explanation for the experimental observations underlying the emergence of pacemaker sites and Ca2+ oscillations.
Intravital Forster resonance energy transfer imaging reveals elevated [Ca2+]i and enhanced sympathetic tone in femoral arteries of angiotensin II-infused hypertensive biosensor mice
Artery narrowing in hypertension can only result from structural remodelling of the artery, or increased smooth muscle contraction. The latter may occur with, or without, increases in [Ca2+]i. Here, we sought to measure, in living hypertensive mice, possible changes in artery dimensions and/or [Ca2+]i, and to determine some of the mechanisms involved. Ca2+/calmodulin biosensor (Förster resonance energy transfer-based) mice were made hypertensive by s.c. infusion of angiotensin II (Ang II, 400 ng kg–1 min–1, 2–3 weeks). Intravital fluorescence microscopy was used to determine [Ca2+]i and outer diameter of surgically exposed, intact femoral artery (FA) of anaesthetized mice. Active contractile FA ‘tone' was calculated from the basal-state diameter and the passive (i.e. Ca2+-free) diameter (PD). Compared to saline control, FAs of Ang II-infused mice had (1) ~21% higher active tone and (2) ~78 nm higher smooth muscle [Ca2+]i, but (3) the same PDs. The local Ang II receptor (AT1R) blocker losartan had negligible effect on tone or [Ca2+]i in control FAs, but reduced the basal tone by ~9% in Ang II FAs. Both i.v. hexamethonium and locally applied prazosin abolished the difference in FA tone and [Ca2+]i, suggesting a dominant role of sympathetic nerve activity (SNA). Changes in diameter and [Ca2+]i in response to locally applied phenylephrine, Ang II, arginine vasopressin, elevated [K+]o and acetylcholine were not altered. In summary, FAs of living Ang II hypertensive mice have higher [Ca2+]i, and are more constricted, due, primarily, to elevated SNA and some increased arterial AT1R activation. Evidence of altered artery reactivity or remodeling was not found.
Differential patterns of replacement and reactive fibrosis in pressure and volume overload are related to the propensity for ischaemia and involve resistin
Pathological left ventricle (LV) hypertrophy (LVH) results in reactive and replacement fibrosis. Volume overload LVH (VOH) is less profibrotic than pressure overload LVH (POH). Studies attribute subendocardial fibrosis in POH to ischaemia, and reduced fibrosis in VOH to collagen degradation favouring dilatation. However, the mechanical origin of the relative lack of fibrosis in VOH is incompletely understood. We hypothesized that reduced ischaemia propensity in VOH compared to POH accounted for the reduced replacement fibrosis, along with reduced reactive fibrosis. Rats with POH (ascending aortic banding) evolved into either compensated-concentric POH (POH-CLVH) or dilated cardiomyopathy (POH-DCM); they were compared to VOH (aorta–caval fistula). We quantified LV fibrosis, structural and haemodynamic factors of ischaemia propensity, and the activation of profibrotic pathways. Fibrosis in POH-DCM was severe, subendocardial and subepicardial, in contrast with subendocardial fibrosis in POH-CLVH and nearly no fibrosis in VOH. The propensity for ischaemia was more important in POH versus VOH, explaining different patterns of replacement fibrosis. LV collagen synthesis and maturation, and matrix metalloproteinase-2 expression, were more important in POH. The angiotensin II-transforming growth-factor axis was enhanced in POH, and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) was overexpressed in all types of LVH. LV resistin expression was markedly elevated in POH, mildly elevated in VOH and independently reflected chronic ischaemic injury after myocardial infarction. In vitro, resistin is induced by angiotensin II and induces CTGF in cardiomyocytes. Based on these findings, we conclude that a reduced ischaemia propensity and attenuated upstream reactive fibrotic pathways account for the attenuated fibrosis in VOH versus POH.
Electrotonic suppression of early afterdepolarizations in the neonatal rat ventricular myocyte monolayer
Pathologies that result in early afterdepolarizations (EADs) are a known trigger for tachyarrhythmias, but the conditions that cause surrounding tissue to conduct or suppress EADs are poorly understood. Here we introduce a cell culture model of EAD propagation consisting of monolayers of cultured neonatal rat ventricular myocytes treated with anthopleurin-A (AP-A). AP-A-treated monolayers display a cycle length dependent prolongation of action potential duration (245 ms untreated, vs. 610 ms at 1 Hz and 1200 ms at 0.5 Hz for AP-A-treated monolayers). In contrast, isolated single cells treated with AP-A develop prominent irregular oscillations with a frequency of 2.5 Hz, and a variable prolongation of the action potential duration of up to several seconds. To investigate whether electrotonic interactions between coupled cells modulates EAD formation, cell connectivity was reduced by RNA silencing gap junction Cx43. In contrast to well-connected monolayers, gap junction silenced monolayers display bradycardia-dependent plateau oscillations consistent with EADs. Further, simulations of a cell displaying EADs electrically connected to a cell with normal action potentials show a coupling strength-dependent suppression of EADs consistent with the experimental results. These results suggest that electrotonic effects may play a critical role in EAD-mediated arrhythmogenesis.
Early afterdepolarizations (EADs) are a known trigger for arrhythmias, but the effect of surrounding tissue on EADs is poorly understood.
Neurotoxin anthopleurin-A (AP-A) increases action potential duration and gives rise to EADs in isolated myocytes. We investigate the effect of AP-A on connected networks of cultured cardiac cells.
We show that EADs are markedly suppressed in well-coupled neonatal rat ventricular monolayers treated with AP-A, but reappear when gap junction connectivity is blocked.
The ability of cell coupling to electrotonically damp EADs is confirmed in a two-cell simulation where connectivity is systematically varied.
Taken together, these results suggest that cell–cell coupling can act to suppress EADs in normal cardiac tissue. Results also suggest that EADs may emerge and propagate in poorly coupled tissue.
Correlation of cellular expression with function of NO-sensitive guanylyl cyclase in the murine lower urinary tract
The action of nitric oxide (NO) to stimulate NO-sensitive guanylyl cyclase (NO-GC), followed by production of cGMP, and eventually to cause smooth muscle relaxation is well known. In the lower urinary tract (LUT), in contrast to the cardiovascular system and the gastrointestinal tract, specific localization in combination with function of NO-GC has not been investigated to date. Consequently, little is known about the mechanisms regulating relaxation of the lower urinary tract in general and the role of NO-GC-expressing cells in particular. To study the distribution and function of NO-GC in the murine lower urinary tract, we used internal urethral sphincter and bladder detrusor from global (GCKO) and smooth muscle cell-specific (SM-GCKO) NO-GC knock-out mice for immunohistochemical analyses and organ bath experiments. In urethral sphincter, NO-GC-positive immunofluorescence was confined to smooth muscle cells (SMCs). Deletion of NO-GC in SMCs abolished NO-induced relaxation. In bladder detrusor, exposure to NO did not cause relaxation although immunohistochemistry uncovered the existence of NO-GC in the tissue. In contrast to the urethral sphincter, expression of NO-GC in bladder detrusor was limited to platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR)-positive interstitial cells. In conclusion, NO-GC found in SMCs of the urethral sphincter mediates NO-induced relaxation; bladder detrusor is unique as NO-GC is not expressed in SMCs and, thus, NO does not induce relaxation. Nevertheless, NO-GC expression was found in PDGFR-positive interstitial cells of the murine bladder with an as yet unknown function. Further investigation is needed to clarify the role of NO-GC in the detrusor.
Molecular transport machinery involved in orchestrating luminal acid-induced duodenal bicarbonate secretion in vivo
The duodenal villus brush border membrane expresses several ion transporters and/or channels, including the solute carrier 26 anion transporters Slc26a3 (DRA) and Slc26a6 (PAT-1), the Na+/H+ exchanger isoform 3 (NHE3), as well as the anion channels cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) and Slc26a9. Using genetically engineered mouse models lacking Scl26a3, Slc26a6, Slc26a9 or Slc9a3 (NHE3), the study was carried out to assess the role of these transporters in mediating the protective duodenal bicarbonate secretory response (DBS-R) to luminal acid; and to compare it to their role in DBS-R elicited by the adenylyl cyclase agonist forskolin. While basal DBS was reduced in the absence of any of the three Slc26 isoforms, the DBS-R to forskolin was not altered. In contrast, the DBS-R to a 5 min exposure to luminal acid (pH 2.5) was strongly reduced in the absence of Slc26a3 or Slc26a9, but not Slc26a6. CFTR inhibitor [CFTR(Inh)-172] reduced the first phase of the acid-induced DBS-R, while NHE3 inhibition (or knockout) abolished the sustained phase of the DBS-R. Luminal acid exposure resulted in the activation of multiple intracellular signalling pathways, including SPAK, AKT and p38 phosphorylation. It induced a biphasic trafficking of NHE3, first rapidly into the brush border membrane, followed by endocytosis in the later stage. We conclude that the long-lasting DBS-R to luminal acid exposure activates multiple duodenocyte signalling pathways and involves changes in trafficking and/or activity of CFTR, Slc26 isoforms Slc26a3 and Slc26a9, and NHE3.
Are skeletal muscle FNDC5 gene expression and irisin release regulated by exercise and related to health?
Recently, contradictory findings have been reported concerning the function of irisin and its precursor gene, skeletal muscle FNDC5, in energy homeostasis, and the associated regulatory role of exercise and PGC-1. We therefore evaluated whether muscle FNDC5 mRNA and serum irisin are exercise responsive and whether PGC-1 expression is associated with FNDC5 expression. The male subjects in the study performed single exercises: (1) 1 h low-intensity aerobic exercise (AE) (middle-aged, n = 17), (2) a heavy-intensity resistance exercise (RE) bout (young n = 10, older n = 11) (27 vs. 62 years), (3) long-term 21 weeks endurance exercise (EE) training alone (twice a week, middle-aged, n = 9), or (4) combined EE and RE training (both twice a week, middle-aged, n = 9). Skeletal muscle mRNA expression was analysed by quantitative PCR and serum irisin by ELISA. No significant changes were observed in skeletal muscle PGC-1, FNDC5 and serum irisin after AE, EE training or combined EE + RE training. However, a single RE bout increased PGC-1 by 4-fold in young and by 2-fold in older men, while FNDC5 mRNA only increased in young men post-RE, by 1.4-fold. Changes in PGC-1 or serum irisin were not consistently accompanied by changes in FNDC5. In conclusion, for the most part, neither longer-term nor single exercise markedly increases skeletal muscle FNDC5 expression or serum irisin. Therefore their changes in response to exercise are probably random and not consistent excluding the confirmation of any definitive link between exercise and FNDC5 expression and irisin release in humans. Moreover, irisin and FNDC5 were not associated with glucose tolerance and being overweight, or with metabolic disturbances, respectively. Finally, factor(s) other than PGC-1 and transcription may regulate FNDC5 expression.
These studies investigate the relationships between perfusion pressure, force output and pressor responses for the contracting human tibialis anterior muscle. Eight healthy adults were studied. Changing the height of tibialis anterior relative to the heart was used to control local perfusion pressure. Electrically stimulated tetanic force output was highly sensitive to physiological variations in perfusion pressure showing a proportionate change in force output of 6.5% per 10 mmHg. This perfusion-dependent change in contractility begins within seconds and is reversible with a 53 s time constant, demonstrating a steady-state equilibrium between contractility and perfusion pressure. These stimulated contractions did not produce significant cardiovascular responses, indicating that the muscle pressor response does not play a major role in cardiovascular regulation at these workloads. Voluntary contractions at forces that would require constant motor drive if perfusion pressure had remained constant generated a central pressor response when perfusion pressure was lowered. This is consistent with a larger cortical drive being required to compensate for the lost contractility with lower perfusion pressure. The relationship between contractility and perfusion for this large postural muscle was not different from that of a small hand muscle (adductor pollicis) and it responded similarly to passive peripheral and active central changes in arterial pressure, but extended over a wider operating range of pressures. If we consider that, in a goal-oriented motor task, muscle contractility determines central motor output and the central pressor response, these results indicate that muscle would fatigue twice as fast without a pressor response. From its extent, timing and reversibility we propose a testable hypothesis that this change in contractility arises through contraction- and perfusion-dependent changes in interstitial K+ concentration.
Smooth muscle cell transient receptor potential polycystin-2 (TRPP2) channels contribute to the myogenic response in cerebral arteries
Intravascular pressure-induced vasoconstriction is a smooth muscle cell-specific mechanism that controls systemic blood pressure and organ regional blood flow. Smooth muscle cell polycystin-1 and -2 (TRPP1 and -2) proteins modulate the myogenic response in mesenteric arteries, but involvement in other vascular beds is unclear. Here, we examined TRPP2 expression, cellular distribution, cation currents (ICat), and physiological functions in smooth muscle cells of rat and human cerebral arteries. We demonstrate that TRPP2 is the major TRPP isoform expressed in cerebral artery smooth muscle cells, with message levels higher than those of TRPP1. Arterial biotinylation and immunofluorescence indicated that TRPP2 is located primarily (~88%) in the smooth muscle cell plasma membrane. RNA interference reduced TRPP2 expression by ~55% compared to control, but did not alter levels of TRPP1, TRPC1, TRPC3, TRPC6, TRPM4, ANO1/TMEM16A, or voltage-dependent Ca2+ (CaV1.2) channels, other ion channel proteins that modulate myogenic tone. Cell swelling induced by hyposmotic (250 osmol (l solution)–1) bath solution stimulated Gd3+-sensitive ICat in smooth muscle cells that were reduced by selective TRPP2 knockdown. TRPP2 knockdown did not alter myogenic tone at 20 mmHg but reduced tone between ~28 and 39% over an intravascular pressure range between 40 and 100 mmHg. In contrast, TRPP2 knockdown did not alter depolarization-induced (60 mmol l K+) vasoconstriction. In summary, we show that TRPP2 is expressed in smooth muscle cells of resistance-size cerebral arteries, resides primarily in the plasma membrane, and contributes to the myogenic response. Data also suggest that TRPP2 differentially regulates the myogenic response in cerebral and mesenteric arteries.
Ageing is thought to be associated with decreased vascular function partly due to oxidative stress. Resveratrol is a polyphenol, which in animal studies has been shown to decrease atherosclerosis, and improve cardiovascular health and physical capacity, in part through its effects on Sirtuin 1 signalling and through an improved antioxidant capacity. We tested the hypothesis that resveratrol supplementation enhances training-induced improvements in cardiovascular health parameters in aged men. Twenty-seven healthy physically inactive aged men (age: 65 ± 1 years; body mass index: 25.4 ± 0.7 kg m–2; mean arterial pressure (MAP): 95.8 ± 2.2 mmHg; maximal oxygen uptake: 2488 ± 72 ml O2 min–1) were randomized into 8 weeks of either daily intake of either 250 mg trans-resveratrol (n = 14) or of placebo (n = 13) concomitant with high-intensity exercise training. Exercise training led to a 45% greater (P < 0.05) increase in maximal oxygen uptake in the placebo group than in the resveratrol group and to a decrease in MAP in the placebo group only (–4.8 ± 1.7 mmHg; P < 0.05). The interstitial level of vasodilator prostacyclin was lower in the resveratrol than in the placebo group after training (980 ± 90 vs. 1174 ± 121 pg ml–1; P < 0.02) and muscle thromboxane synthase was higher in the resveratrol group after training (P < 0.05). Resveratrol administration also abolished the positive effects of exercise on low-density lipoprotein, total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein ratio and triglyceride concentrations in blood (P < 0.05). Resveratrol did not alter the effect of exercise training on the atherosclerosis marker vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1). Sirtuin 1 protein levels were not affected by resveratrol supplementation. These findings indicate that, whereas exercise training effectively improves several cardiovascular health parameters in aged men, concomitant resveratrol supplementation can blunt these effects.
Intrauterine inflammation impairs fetal pulmonary vascular development and increases cerebral metabolic rate in fetal sheep. We hypothesized that these structural and metabolic effects of intrauterine inflammation would be accompanied by reduced fetal pulmonary blood flow and increased cerebral perfusion. Fetal sheep were instrumented at 112 days of gestation (term is 147 days) for measurement of cardiopulmonary and cerebral haemodynamics. At 118 days ewes were randomly assigned to receive intra-amniotic lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 20 mg from Escherichia coli; n = 7) or saline (control, 4 ml; n = 6). Fetal haemodynamic data were recorded continually from 1 h before intra-amniotic LPS or saline, until 144 h after. Fetal arterial blood was sampled before, and periodically after, intra-amniotic LPS or saline. End-diastolic and mean pulmonary blood flows were significantly lower than control from 48 and 96 h after LPS exposure, respectively, until the end of the experiment. Carotid blood flow was transiently increased at 96 and 120 h after LPS exposure. Carotid arterial oxygen content was lower than control from 48 h after intra-amniotic LPS. Fetal arterial lactate concentration was higher than control between 4 and 12 h after intra-amniotic LPS. Experimental intrauterine inflammation reduces pulmonary blood flow in fetal sheep, over a time course consistent with impaired pulmonary vascular development. Increased carotid blood flow after LPS administration may reflect an inflammation-induced increase in cerebral metabolic demand.
Permeability and contractile responses of collecting lymphatic vessels elicited by atrial and brain natriuretic peptides
Atrial and brain natriuretic peptides (ANP and BNP, respectively) are cardiac hormones released into the bloodstream in response to hypervolaemia or fluid shifts to the central circulation. The actions of both peptides include natriuresis and diuresis, a decrease in systemic blood pressure, and inhibition of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system. Further, ANP and BNP elicit increases in blood microvessel permeability sufficient to cause protein and fluid extravasation into the interstitium to reduce the vascular volume. Given the importance of the lymphatic vasculature in maintaining fluid balance, we tested the hypothesis that ANP or BNP (100 nm) would likewise elevate lymphatic permeability (Ps) to serum albumin. Using a microfluorometric technique adapted to in vivo lymphatic vessels, we determined that rat mesenteric collecting lymphatic Ps to rat serum albumin increased by 2.0 ± 0.4-fold (P = 0.01, n = 7) and 2.7 ± 0.8-fold (P = 0.07, n = 7) with ANP and BNP, respectively. In addition to measuring Ps responses, we observed changes in spontaneous contraction amplitude and frequency from the albumin flux tracings in vivo. Notably, ANP abolished spontaneous contraction amplitude (P = 0.005) and frequency (P = 0.006), while BNP augmented both parameters by ~2-fold (P < 0.01 each). These effects of ANP and BNP on contractile function were examined further by using an in vitro assay. In aggregate, these data support the theory that an increase in collecting lymphatic permeability opposes the absorptive function of the lymphatic capillaries, and aids in the retention of protein and fluid in the interstitial space to counteract volume expansion.