Signalling and regulation of collagen I synthesis by ET-1 and TGF-β1


A. Horstmeyer, Department of Dermatology, University of Cologne, Joseph-Stelzmann-Str. 9, D-50931 Cologne, Germany
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Endothelin-1 (ET-1) plays an important role in tissue remodelling and fibrogenesis by inducing synthesis of collagen I via protein kinase C (PKC). ET-1 signals are transduced by two receptor subtypes, the ETA- and ETB-receptors which activate different Gα proteins. Here, we investigated the expression of both ET-receptor subtypes in human primary dermal fibroblasts and demonstrated that the ETA-receptor is the major ET-receptor subtype expressed. To determine further signalling intermediates, we inhibited Gαi and three phospholipases. Pharmacologic inhibition of Gαi, phosphatidylcholine-phospholipase C (PC-PLC) and phospholipase D (PLD), but not of phospholipase Cβ, abolished the increase in collagen I by ET-1. Inhibition of all phospholipases revealed similar effects on TGF-β1 induced collagen I synthesis, demonstrating involvement of PC-PLC and PLD in the signalling pathways elicited by ET-1 and TGF-β1. ET-1 and TGF-β1 each stimulated collagen I production and in an additive manner. ET-1 further induced connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), as did TGF-β1, however, to lower levels. While rapid and sustained CTGF induction was seen following TGF-β1 treatment, ET-1 increased CTGF in a biphasic manner with lower induction at 3 h and a delayed and higher induction after 5 days of permanent ET-1 treatment. Coincidentally at 5 days of permanent ET-1 stimulation, a switch in ET-receptor subtype expression to the ETB-receptor was observed. We conclude that the signalling pathways induced by ET-1 and TGF-β1 leading to augmented collagen I production by fibroblasts converge on a similar signalling pathway. Thereby, long-time stimulation by ET-1 resulted in a changed ET-receptor subtype ratio and in a biphasic CTGF induction.