Immunohistochemical and functional studies on calcium-sensing receptors in rat uterine smooth muscle
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1. Activation of calcium-sensing receptors (CaS) leads to relaxation of vascular smooth muscle. However, the role of CaS in uterine smooth muscle is unknown. Therefore the aim of the present study was to investigate the expression and function of CaS in the uterus. 2. The expression of CaS in the oestrogen-dominated rat uterus was investigated using immunohistochemistry. The effects of putative CaS ligands on oxytocin-induced contractions of longitudinally orientated uterine strips from oestrogen-dominated rats were determined at reduced extracellular Ca²⁺ concentrations using conventional organ bath techniques. 3. Immunohistochemical evidence showed the presence of CaS in the endometrium and smooth muscle layers of the rat uterus. Oxytocin-induced contractions were inhibited by cations (Gd³⁺ > Ca²⁺ = Mg²⁺), polyamines (spermine > spermidine) and the positive allosteric modulators cinacalcet and calindol. However (R)- and (S)-cinacalcet were equipotent, indicating a lack of stereoselectivity, and the negative allosteric modulator calhex-231 also caused dose-dependent relaxation. In addition, although intermediate-conductance calcium-activated potassium channels and cytochrome P450-dependent signal transduction have been implicated in CaS-induced relaxation of vascular smooth muscle, neither Tram-34 nor miconazole (1 μmol/L), which block these pathways, respectively, had any effect on the ability of cinacalcet to inhibit oxytocin-induced contractions. 4. Calcium-sensing receptors are expressed in smooth muscle layers of the rat uterus and their ligands produce potent relaxation of longitudinally orientated uterine strips. However, the pharmacological profile of inhibition of contractility by CaS ligands is not consistent with a role for CaS in the regulation of uterine contractility in the rat.
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