Synthesis of kininogen and degradation of bradykinin by PC12 cells


Institute of Pharmacology, Medical University of Lübeck, Ratzeburger Allee 160, D-23538 Lübeck


  • 1In this study, the abilities of PC12 cells to synthesize and degrade kinins were investigated. Kinin formation was assessed as kinin and kininogen content of cells and supernatants in serum-free incubations by use of a bradykinin-specific radioimmunoassay. Expression of kininogen mRNA was demonstrated by reverse-transcriptase PCR. Kinin degradation pathways of intact PC12 cells were characterized by identification of the kinin fragments generated from tritiated bradykinin either in the absence or presence of the angiotensin I-converting enzyme inhibitor ramiprilat.
  • 2Kinin immunoreactivity in the supernatant of PC12 cell cultures accumulated in a time-dependent fashion during incubations in serum-free media. This effect was solely due to de novo synthesis and release of kininogen (35 pg bradykinin  h−1 mg−1 protein) since it could be suppressed by cycloheximide. Continuous synthesis of kininogen was a specific property of PC12 cells, as it was not observed in cultured macro- or microvascular endothelial cells. PC12 cells contained only minor amounts of stored kininogen. The rate of kininogen synthesis was not affected by ramiprilat, bacterial lipopolysaccharide, nerve growth factor or dexamethasone, but was stimulated 1.4 fold when cells were pretreated for 1 day with 1 μm desoxycorticosterone.
  • 3By use of cDNA probes specific for kininogen subtype mRNAs, expression of low-molecular-weight kininogen and T-kininogen in PC12 cells was confirmed. Expression of high molecular weight kininogen mRNA was also shown, though only at the lowest limit of detection of the assay.
  • 4Degradation of tritiated bradykinin by PC12 cells occurred with a half-life of 48 min resulting in the main fragments [1–7]- and [1–5]-bradykinin. The degradation rate of bradykinin decreased to 15% in the presence of ramiprilat (250 nm). Apart from angiotensin I-converting enzyme direct cleavage of bradykinin to [1–7]- and [1–5]-bradykinin still occurred under this condition as a result of additional kininase activities.
  • 5Along with previous findings of B2-receptor-mediated catecholamine release, these results now confirm the hypothesis that a cellular kinin system is expressed in PC12 cells. The presence of such a system may reflect a role of kinins as local neuromodulatory mediators in the peripheral sympathetic system.