Apelin increases cardiac contractility via protein kinase Cε- And extracellular signal-regulated kinase-dependent mechanisms

Ábel Perjés, Réka Skoumal, Olli Tenhunen, Attila Kónyi, Mihály Simon, Iván G. Horváth, Risto Kerkelä, Heikki Ruskoaho, István Szokodi

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55 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Apelin, the endogenous ligand for the G protein-coupled apelin receptor, is an important regulator of the cardiovascular homoeostasis. We previously demonstrated that apelin is one of the most potent endogenous stimulators of cardiac contractility; however, its underlying signaling mechanisms remain largely elusive. In this study we characterized the contribution of protein kinase C (PKC), extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) and myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) to the positive inotropic effect of apelin. Methods and Results: In isolated perfused rat hearts, apelin increased contractility in association with activation of prosurvival kinases PKC and ERK1/2. Apelin induced a transient increase in the translocation of PKCε, but not PKCα, from the cytosol to the particulate fraction, and a sustained increase in the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 in the left ventricle. Suppression of ERK1/2 activation diminished the apelin-induced increase in contractility. Although pharmacological inhibition of PKC attenuated the inotropic response to apelin, it had no effect on ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Moreover, the apelin-induced positive inotropic effect was significantly decreased by inhibition of MLCK, a kinase that increases myofilament Ca 2+ sensitivity. Conclusions: Apelin increases cardiac contractility through parallel and independent activation of PKCε and ERK1/2 signaling in the adult rat heart. Additionally MLCK activation represents a downstream mechanism in apelin signaling. Our data suggest that, in addition to their role in cytoprotection, modest activation of PKCe and ERK1/2 signaling improve contractile function, therefore these pathways represent attractive possible targets in the treatment of heart failure.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere93473
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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