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Novel Pannexin-1-Coupled Signaling Cascade Involved In The Control Of Endothelial Cell Function And NO-Dependent Relaxation

Mauricio A. Lillo, Pablo S. Gaete, Mariela Puebla, Pía C. Burboa, Inés Poblete, Xavier F. Figueroa

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Deletion of pannexin-1 (Panx-1) leads not only to a reduction in endothelium-derived hyperpolarization but also to an increase in NO-mediated vasodilation. Therefore, we evaluated the participation of Panx-1-formed channels in the control of membrane potential and [Ca2+]i of endothelial cells. Changes in NO-mediated vasodilation, membrane potential, superoxide anion (O2⋅–) formation, and endothelial cell [Ca2+]i were analyzed in rat isolated mesenteric arterial beds and primary cultures of mesenteric endothelial cells. Inhibition of Panx-1 channels with probenecid (1 mM) or the Panx-1 blocking peptide 10Panx (60 μM) evoked an increase in the ACh (100 nM)-induced vasodilation of KCl-contracted mesenteries and in the phosphorylation level of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) at serine 1177 (P-eNOSS1177) and Akt at serine 473 (P-AktS473). In addition, probenecid or 10Panx application activated a rapid, tetrodotoxin (TTX, 300 nM)-sensitive, membrane potential depolarization and [Ca2+]i increase in endothelial cells. Interestingly, the endothelial cell depolarization was converted into a transient spike after removing Ca2+ ions from the buffer solution and in the presence of 100 μM mibefradil or 10 μM Ni2+. As expected, Ni2+ also abolished the increment in [Ca2+]i. Expression of Nav1.2, Nav1.6, and Cav3.2 isoforms of voltage-dependent Na+ and Ca2+ channels was confirmed by immunocytochemistry. Furthermore, the Panx-1 channel blockade was associated with an increase in O2⋅– production. Treatment with 10 μM TEMPOL or 100 μM apocynin prevented the increase in O2⋅– formation, ACh-induced vasodilation, P-eNOSS1177, and P-AktS473 observed in response to Panx-1 inhibition. These findings indicate that the Panx-1 channel blockade triggers a novel complex signaling pathway initiated by the sequential activation of TTX-sensitive Nav channels and Cav3.2 channels, leading to an increase in NO-mediated vasodilation through a NADPH oxidase-dependent P-eNOSS1177, which suggests that Panx-1 may be involved in the endothelium-dependent control of arterial blood pressure.