Expression of a functional extracellular calcium-sensing receptor in human aortic endothelial cells
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Extracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](o)) regulates the functions of many cell types through a G protein-coupled [Ca(2+)](o)-sensing receptor (CaR). Whether the receptor is functionally expressed in vascular endothelial cells is largely unknown. In cultured human aortic endothelial cells (HAEC), RT-PCR yielded the expected 555-bp product corresponding to the CaR, and CaR protein was demonstrated by fluorescence immunostaining and Western blot. RT-PCR also demonstrated the expression in HAEC of alternatively spliced variants of the CaR lacking exon 5. Although stimulation of fura 2-loaded HAEC by several CaR agonists (high [Ca(2+)](o), neomycin, and gadolinium) failed to increase intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)), the CaR agonist spermine stimulated an increase in [Ca(2+)](i) that was diminished in buffer without Ca(2+) and was abolished after depletion of an intracellular Ca(2+) pool with thapsigargin or after blocking IP(3)- and ryanodine receptor-mediated Ca(2+) release with xestospongin C and with high concentration ryanodine, respectively. Spermine stimulated an increase in DAF-FM fluorescence in HAEC, consistent with NO production. Both the increase in [Ca(2+)](i) and in NO production were reduced or absent in HAEC transfected with siRNA specifically targeted to the CaR. HAEC express a functional CaR that responds to the endogenous polyamine spermine with an increase in [Ca(2+)](i), primarily due to release of IP(3)- and ryanodine-sensitive intracellular Ca(2+) stores, leading to the production of NO. Expression of alternatively spliced variants of the CaR may result in the absence of a functional response to other known CaR agonists in HAEC.
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