1. Exogenous arachidonic acid (AA) inhibits the protein phosphatase that dephosphorylates smooth muscle myosin, thus sensitizing the contractile response to Ca2+; it also inhibits voltage‐gated Ca2+ channels in smooth muscle. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether endogenous AA is increased by agonists in a manner consistent with its role as a messenger regulating myosin phosphatase and Ca2+ channels. Both AA and diacylglycerol (DAG) were measured in [3H]AA‐labelled intact and permeabilized (with staphylococcal alpha‐toxin) rabbit femoral arteries stimulated with the alpha 1‐adrenergic agonist phenylephrine (PE) (intact and permeabilized smooth muscles) or by guanosine‐5'‐O‐(3‐thiotriphosphate (GTP gamma S; permeabilized smooth muscles in which the [Ca2+] was maintained constant). Arachidonic acid mass was determined with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC‐MS). 2. In intact smooth muscle, PE increased both AA and DAG levels significantly, to 210 and 145% of baseline values, respectively. Another Ca2+‐sensitizing agent, the thromboxane analogue U46619, caused a similar increase in AA and DAG levels in rabbit pulmonary artery. 3. In permeabilized smooth muscle at constant [Ca2+](pCa 6.5) GTP gamma S‐induced AA and DAG release preceded force development and GTP gamma S (50 microM, 10 min) increased AA mass to 61‐88 microM. 4. Phorbol‐12,13‐dibutyrate (PDBu), another Ca2+‐sensitizing agent, also increased both AA and DAG levels in permeabilized smooth muscle at pCa 6.5, whereas the inactive analogue, 4 alpha‐phorbol, did not have a Ca2+‐sensitizing effect, nor did it increase AA and DAG levels. 5. In the virtual absence of Ca2+ (pCa > 8) GTP gamma S also increased AA and DAG levels by 3.5‐ and 1.6‐fold, respectively. The effect of free Ca2+ itself on AA and DAG release was modest in the physiological range (pCa 7.0 to pCa 6.0), but pCa 4.5 caused an approximately 3‐ to 4‐fold increase in AA and DAG levels, compared with the levels at pCa 8. In permeabilized ileum smooth muscle maintained at constant [Ca2+] (pCa 6.0), carbachol also significantly increased AA to 1.75 times its original value within 1 min of its application. 6. Our results are consistent with, although do not prove, the roles of AA and DAG as second and/or co‐messenger(s) in smooth muscle, while the increases in AA and DAG levels induced by PDBu raise the possibility that they contribute to some of the cellular effects of phorbol esters.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Journal of Physiology|
|State||Published - Jul 1 1995|
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