Ectopic expression of the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin in mouse liver endothelial cells



To elucidate the physiological role of the Ca2+ binding protein parvalbumin, we have generated transgenic mice carrying the full-length complementary DNA (cDNA) of rat parvalbumin under the control of the heavy-metal inducible metallothionein IIA promoter. Immunohistochemical and biochemical methods have been used to detect the presence of ectopic parvalbumin expression in different tissues. Here we show the expression of parvalbumin in endothelial cells lining the liver sinusoids in situ and after isolation in vitro. The hemodynamic effects of endothelin 1, a peptide hormone mediating potent vasoconstriction via calcium signalling, were investigated in the mouse liver perfused in situ. Vasoconstriction, thought to be mediated by the Ito cell, was not affected in the transgenic animals, whereas microvascular exchange, probed with the multiple indicator dilution technique, was markedly decreased in normal mice but virtually not affected in the transgenic animals. This suggests that ectopically expressed parvalbumin is involved in the regulation of Ca2+ signals in the sinusoidal endothelial cells. This animal model could be of interest to those working on the physiology of liver circulation.