In vitro effects of three organic calcium channel blockers on the rat pineal gland

Brown, Clint (1992) In vitro effects of three organic calcium channel blockers on the rat pineal gland. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

The calcium signal has emerged as an imponant component of intracellular regulation. Pineal function was thought to be slowed by the prominent calcification seen with increasing age, but recently it has been shown that calcium plays a crucial role in the adrenergic regulation of the gland. Beta-adrenoceptor stimulation increases melatonin (aMT) synthesis by increasing the activity of cyclic 3 '-5' adenosine mono phosphate (cAMP). Cyclic-AMP regulates the production of the pineal hormone, melatonin, from serotonin via the rate-limiting enzyme N-acetyltransferase (NAT). Increased intracellular cAMP is essential to the adrenergic induction of NAT. Noradrenaline(NA)also elevates pinealocyte cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). Adrenergic regulation of these cyclic nucleotides involves both α₁ - and β-adrenoceptors. Beta-adrenoceptor stimulation is an absolute requirement. Alphal-adrenoceptor activation, which is ineffective alone, serves to amplify the β-stimulated cAMP and cGMP responses via a positive effect on a Ca²⁺⁻/ phospholipiddependent protein kinase (Protein kinase-C) and a net influx of Ca²⁺ into the pinealocyte. Previous studies suggest the use of organic calcium channel blockers (CCBs) as probes of calcium-mediated processes. Applying this concept, the study set out to investigate the influence of a representative of each of the structurally diverse groups of calcium channel blockers viz. verapamil, diltiazem and nifedipine, and to examine their effect on β-adrenoceptor stimulation. It used the β-agonist isoprenaline (ISO) and the mixed [α₁/β]agonist noradrenaline (NA), for its combined [α₁/β]adrenoceptor stimulation, on agonist-induced increases in the production of radio-labelled aMT and N-acetylserotonin(aHT) -measured as the sum of N-acetylated product- from [¹⁴C] serotonin. This was done using organ cultures of rat pineal glands. It was speciously assumed that this drug paradigm would allow the determination of Ca²⁺ influx and/or the blocking thereof in the reported potentiation by using ISO as a non Ca²⁺ -entry stimulating agonist, compared with NA and its Ca²⁺ -entry stimulating properties. Surprisingly, all 3 CCB's potentiated the effect of NA. Only diltiazem was found not to potentiate the effect of ISO. In an attempt to uncover the reason for these results, the study moved toward a mechanistic approach,focusing in an antecedent manner on the various steps in the indole metabolic pathway to identify the point at which the change occurred, and hence possibly elucidate the mechanism responsible for the paradoxical increase. Experiments which assayed the levels of NAT, under the same drug conditions, showed the paradoxical increase to be already evident at this stage. Secondary experiments confirmed that NA stimulation of the pineal is dependent on Ca²⁺, both in organ culture and with NAT: the Ca²⁺ chelator EGTA abolished adrenergically-induced stimulation, while Ca²⁺ added after EGTA, restored the enzyme activity. The ionophore A23187 (which is able to transport Ca²⁺ directly into the pinealocyte via a mechanism which differs from the α₁ - mechanism) when used in conjunction with ISO or NA, was able to potentiate the responses of these two agonists relative to control values (agonist-alone), but by itself had no effect. With the enzyme NAT critically dependent upon cAMP for its induction, it was decided to determine the levels of cAMP and then those of its regulator, cAMP-phosphodiesterase (cAMP-PDE). This reasoning was prompted by reports of anti-calmodulin activity shown by the CCBs, in addition to their channel blocking effects. By binding to calmodulin (CaM), the CCBs are reportedly able to inhibit the CaM-dependent activation of cAMP-PDE. Following NA stimulation, verapamil caused a significant decrease in cAMP-PDE levels and an increase in cAMP. The other CCBs showed a similar trend. Glands stimulated with ISO in the presence of verapamil and nifedipine showed no significant differences in cAMP or cAMP-PDE levels. Diltiazem, however, was found to decrease the effect of ISO on cAMP while causing a concomitant increase in cAMP-PDE. This i) supported a possible hypothesis that the observed enhancement is a result of cAMP levels remaining elevated due to an inhibition of cAMP-PDE by the CCEs and ii) pointed to the possible presence of a CaM-sensitive PDE within the rat pineal gland. To test this hypothesis, two drugs which are more specific in their actions on CaM effects were chosen to see if the earlier results could be mimicked and thereby confirmed. Glands stimulated with NA in the presence of the specific CaM inhibitor R 24571 showed increased NAT activity and [¹⁴C]-aMT production. cAMP-PDE levels were clearly down, thus corroborating the possibility of cAMP-PDE inhibition. Glands incubated in the presence of M&B 22948, a CaM-sensitive PDE inhibitor, showed similar increases in NAT activity and [¹⁴C]-aMT. These findings therefore support the initial results and although indirect, confirm the hypothesis that the paradoxical increase following predominantly NA stimulation could be a result of cAMP levels remaining elevated, due to inhibition by the CCEs of the CaM-dependent activation of its regulator cAMP-PDE. In summary, data presented herein concur with proposals that: i) the CCEs are not specific enough to be used as tools to research Ca²⁺ -mediated events, as they appear to have sites of action other than the voltage operated channel (VOC); eg. binding to calmodulin, ii) there are functional differences between the CCEs as shown by diltiazem in this series of experiments, iii) there is a CaM-sensitive-PDE present in the pineal.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Calcium, Signal, Intracellular regulation, Pineal function, Adrenergic regulation, Gland, Melatonin, Serotonin, Beta-adrenoceptor stimulation, Organic calcium blockers, Hormone, Verapamil, Diltiazem, Nifedipine, Glands, Rat, Stimulation
Subjects:R Medicine > RS Pharmacy and materia medica
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Pharmacy
Supervisors:Potgieter, Ben and Daya, Santy
ID Code:4151
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:05 Dec 2012 08:26
Last Modified:05 Dec 2012 08:26
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