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      Mechanisms Leading to Increased Vasodilator Responses to Calcitonin-Gene-Related Peptide in Mesenteric Resistance Arteries of Early Pregnant Rats

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          The objective of this study was to explore the mechanism responsible for the higher relaxing responses of mesenteric arteries to calcitonin-gene-related peptide (CGRP) in pregnancy. We performed myograph and ligand binding studies to determine the role of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and CGRP receptor density. MMP activity was manipulated in isolated arteries by exposing them to the blocking effects of doxycycline. Vascular activity of MMP-2 was studied by gelatin zymography, and CGRP receptor density was determined by ligand binding analysis. Compared to nonpregnant rats, CGRP elicited stronger arterial relaxation in pregnant rats. The latter effect was neither accompanied by a change in relaxing responses to direct activation of adenylyl cyclase by forskolin nor by a change in the response to stimulation of G-protein-coupled adrenergic receptors by isoproterenol. Doxycycline did not affect the stronger arterial relaxation in pregnancy in spite of the observed more than threefold higher arterial MMP-2 activity. Density of binding sites for [<sup>125</sup>I]CGRP in arteries from pregnant rats (64 ± 14 fmol/mg protein) and from virgin rats (54 ± 5 fmol/mg protein) were comparable. The results of this study provide evidence for increased coupling of CGRP receptors to adenylyl cyclase in early pregnancy.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Vascular actions of calcitonin gene-related peptide and adrenomedullin.

          This review summarizes the receptor-mediated vascular activities of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and the structurally related peptide adrenomedullin (AM). CGRP is a 37-amino acid neuropeptide, primarily released from sensory nerves, whilst AM is produced by stimulated vascular cells, and amylin is secreted from the pancreas. They share vasodilator activity, albeit to varying extents depending on species and tissue. In particular, CGRP has potent activity in the cerebral circulation, which is possibly relevant to the pathology of migraine, whilst vascular sources of AM contribute to dysfunction in cardiovascular disease. Both peptides exhibit potent activity in microvascular beds. All three peptides can act on a family of CGRP receptors that consist of calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CL) linked to one of three receptor activity-modifying proteins (RAMPs) that are essential for functional activity. The association of CL with RAMP1 produces a CGRP receptor, with RAMP2 an AM receptor and with RAMP3 a CGRP/AM receptor. Evidence for the selective activity of the first nonpeptide CGRP antagonist BIBN4096BS for the CGRP receptor is presented. The cardiovascular activity of these peptides in a range of species and in human clinical conditions is detailed, and potential therapeutic applications based on use of antagonists and gene targeting of agonists are discussed.
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            Temporal relationships between hormonal and hemodynamic changes in early human pregnancy.

            The systemic hemodynamic profile of human pregnancy is characterized by a decrease in mean arterial pressure, a rise in cardiac output and plasma volume in association with an increase in renal plasma flow and glomerular filtration rate. The factors and the time course responsible for the initial hemodynamic changes seen in human pregnancy have not been completely documented. We hypothesize that systemic and renal hemodynamic changes occur early, prior to the presence of the fetal-placental unit. Thirteen women were studied prior to and immediately following conception in identical fashion at gestational weeks 6, 8, 10, 12, 24 and 36. Individuals underwent mean arterial pressure, cardiac output, inulin and PAH clearance determinations. Mean arterial pressure decreased by six weeks gestation (mid follicular 81.5 +/- 2.6 vs. six weeks 68.7 +/- 2.0 mm tig, P < 0.001) in association with a significant increase in cardiac output, a decrease in systemic vascular resistance and an increase in plasma volume. Renal plasma flow and glomerular filtration rate increased by six weeks gestation. Plasma renin activity and aldosterone concentration increased significantly by six weeks, whereas norepinephrine levels did not change throughout pregnancy. Atrial natriuretic peptide levels increased later, at 12 weeks gestation. Plasma cGMP levels decreased and cGMP clearance increased by six and eight weeks, respectively. Peripheral vasodilation occurs early in pregnancy prior to full placentation in association with renal vasodilation and activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. Plasma volume expansion occurs early, followed later by increases in ANP concentration, suggesting that ANP increases in response to changes in intravasular volume.
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              CGRP-RCP, a novel protein required for signal transduction at calcitonin gene-related peptide and adrenomedullin receptors.

              It is becoming clear that receptors that initiate signal transduction by interacting with G-proteins do not function as monomers, but often require accessory proteins for function. Some of these accessory proteins are chaperones, required for correct transport of the receptor to the cell surface, but the function of many accessory proteins remains unknown. We determined the role of an accessory protein for the receptor for calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a potent vasodilator neuropeptide. We have previously shown that this accessory protein, the CGRP-receptor component protein (RCP), is expressed in CGRP responsive tissues and that RCP protein expression correlates with the biological efficacy of CGRP in vivo. However, the function of RCP has remained elusive. In this study stable cell lines were made that express antisense RCP RNA, and CGRP- and adrenomedullin-mediated signal transduction were greatly reduced. However, the loss of RCP did not effect CGRP binding or receptor density, indicating that RCP did not behave as a chaperone but was instead coupling the CGRP receptor to downstream effectors. A candidate CGRP receptor named calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CRLR) has been identified, and in this study RCP co-immunoprecipitated with CRLR indicating that these two proteins interact directly. Since CGRP and adrenomedullin can both signal through CRLR, which has been previously shown to require a chaperone protein for function, we now propose that a functional CGRP or adrenomedullin receptor consists of at least three proteins: the receptor (CRLR), the chaperone protein (RAMP), and RCP that couples the receptor to the cellular signal transduction pathway.

                Author and article information

                J Vasc Res
                Journal of Vascular Research
                S. Karger AG
                June 2008
                10 March 2008
                : 45
                : 4
                : 350-356
                aDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Research Institute of Growth and Development, University Hospital Maastricht, and bDepartment of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands
                119754 J Vasc Res 2008;45:350–356
                © 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 1, References: 30, Pages: 7
                Research Paper


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