Basic Research
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2004. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. May 15, 2004; 10(10): 1476-1479
Published online May 15, 2004. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v10.i10.1476
Signal pathways involved in emodin-induced contraction of smooth muscle cells from rat colon
Tao Ma, Qing-Hui Qi, Jian Xu, Zuo-Liang Dong, Wen-Xiu Yang
Tao Ma, Qing-Hui Qi, Jian Xu, Zuo-Liang Dong, Department of Surgery, General Hospital of Tianjin Medical University, 300052, Tianjin, China
Wen-Xiu Yang, Division of Biophysics, Department of Physics, Nankai University, Tianjin 300071, China
Author contributions: All authors contributed equally to the work.
Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.30171198
Correspondence to: Dr. Qing-Hui Qi, Department of Surgery, General Hospital of Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin 300052, China.
Telephone: +86-22-84283767
Received: June 4, 2003
Revised: October 12, 2003
Accepted: November 19, 2003
Published online: May 15, 2004

AIM: To investigate the effects induced by emodin on single smooth muscle cells from rat colon in vitro, and to determine the signal pathways involved.

METHODS: Cells were isolated from the muscle layers of Wistar rat colon by enzymatic digestion. Cell length was measured by computerized image micrometry. Intracellular Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i) signals were studied using the fluorescent Ca2+ indicator fluo-3 and confocal microscopy. PKCα distribution at rest state or after stimulation was measured with immunofluorescence confocal microscopy.

RESULTS: (1) Emodin dose-dependently caused colonic smooth muscle cells contraction; (2) emodin induced an increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration; (3) the contractile responses induced by emodin were respectively inhibited by preincubation of the cells with ML-7 (an inhibitor of MLCK) and calphostin C (an inhibitor of PKC); and (4) Incubation of cells with emodin caused translocation of PKCα from cytosolic area to the membrane.

CONCLUSION: Emodin has a direct contractile effect on colonic smooth muscle cell. This signal cascade induced by emodin is initiated by increased [Ca2+]i and PKCα translocation, which in turn lead to the activation of MLCK and the suppression of MLCP. Both of them contribute to the emodin-induced contraction.

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