In this study, rat dermal fibroblasts were used as a model system to examine the ability of ligands that are known to activate protein kinase-C to regulate the levels of the mRNAs encoding basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), two growth factors that are thought to be important in processes such as tissue repair and regeneration and wound healing. Treatment of fibroblasts with the phorbol ester phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), thrombin, bradykinin, serotonin, angiotensin-II, or bombesin increased protein kinase-C activity to a similar degree. Treatment of fibroblasts with 1 μM serotonin transiently increased bFGF mRNA levels about 3fold compared to the level in control cells maintained in serum-free medium with 0.25% BSA and decreased IGF-I mRNA levels by -50% compared to the level in control cells. This is similar to the previously described changes induced by bradykinin in these cells, but different from the more marked and sustained changes induced by thrombin and PMA. In contrast, angiotensin-II and bombesin had no effect on bFGF or IGF-I mRNA levels. The effects of serotonin, bradykinin, and PMA on bFGF and IGF-I mRNA levels were abrogated by preincubation of cells in 250 nM PMA to down-regulate protein kinase-C. In contrast, the effect of thrombin on bFGF mRNA levels was only partially inhibited by down-regulation of protein kinase-C, while its effect on IGF-I mRNA levels was unaffected. The activation of signaling path ways by the different ligands was further investigated to begin to determine the mechanism for the differences in the effects of thrombin vs. serotonin and bradykinin and in the effects of these three ligands vs. angiotensin-II and bombesin. All of the ligands activated phospholipase-D to a similar degree, suggesting that activation of this enzyme was not responsible for the differential effects of the ligands. In contrast, thrombin, serotonin, and bradykinin had marked effects on the hydrolysis of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylinositol, whereas bombesin and angiotensin-II had a small effect on phosphatidylcholine hydrolysis and no effect on phosphatidylinositol hydrolysis. The data from these studies suggest that 1) activation of protein kinase-C is necessary for bradykinin and serotonin to exert their effects on bFGF and IGF-I mRNA levels, although the lack of effect of angiotensin-II and bombesin on bFGF and IGF-I mRNA levels demonstrates that activation of protein kinase-C by some ligands is not sufficient to regulate bFGF and IGF-I mRNA levels; 2) the effect of thrombin on bFGF and IGF-I mRNA levels is at least partially independent of the activation of protein kinase-C; and 3) activation of signaling pathways before, in parallel to, or subsequent to the activation of protein kinase-C, possibly the hydrolysis of phosphatidylcholine and/or phosphatidylinositol, may be important in the regulation of bFGF and IGF-I mRNA levels by bradykinin, serotonin, and possibly thrombin.
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