Cell-signaling evidence for adenosine stimulation of coronary smooth muscle proliferation via the A1 adenosine receptor

Jianzhong Shen, Stephen P. Halenda, Michael Sturek, Peter A. Wilden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations


For decades, it has been thought that adenosine is exclusively antimitogenic on vascular smooth muscles via the A2-type adenosine receptor. Recently, we have demonstrated that adenosine stimulates proliferation of porcine coronary artery smooth muscle cells (CASMC) through the A 1 adenosine receptor. However, the cell-signaling mechanisms underlying A1 receptor-mediated CASMC proliferation in response to adenosine have not been defined. Here, we show that in cultured CASMC, adenosine stimulates phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), and AKT in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. This effect is fully mimicked by NECA (nonselective agonist), largely mimicked by CCPA (A1-selective agonist), weakly mimicked by 2-C1-IB-MECA (A3-selective agonist), but not by CGS21680 (A2A-selective agonist), indicating that adenosine signals strongly via the A1 receptor to these mitogenic signaling pathways. This interpretation is supported by the finding that adenosine- and CCPA-induced phosphorylation of ERK, JNK, and AKT are inhibited by pertussis toxin (inactivator of Gi proteins) and by DPCPX (A1-selective antagonist), but not by SCH58261, MRS1706, and VUF5574 (A2A-, A2B-, and A3-selective antagonists, respectively). In addition, adenosine- and CCPA-induced phosphorylation of ERK, JNK, and AKT is inhibited, respectively, by U0126, PD98059 (mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase inhibitors), SP600125 (JNK kinase inhibitor), and wortmannin (phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor). Furthermore, these kinase inhibitors abolish or diminish adenosine- and CCPA-induced increases in the rate of cellular DNA synthesis, bromodeoxyuridine incorporation, protein synthesis, and cell number. We conclude that adenosine activates the ERK, JNK, and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT pathways primarily through the A1 receptor, leading to CASMC mitogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-582
Number of pages9
JournalCirculation research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 16 2005



  • AKT
  • Extracellular signal-regulated kinase
  • G protein
  • Jun N-terminal kinase
  • Phosphorylation
  • Porcine
  • Protein kinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this