Endothelin-3 (ET-3) stimulated phosphoinositide metabolism and synthesis of prostaglandins in cultured rat Kupffer cells. ET-3-induced hydrolysis of phosphoinositides was characterized by the production of various inositol phosphates and of glycerophosphoinositol. The mechanism of ET-3-stimulated metabolism of phosphoinositides and synthesis of prostaglandins appeared to be distinct from the effect of platelet-activating factor (PAF) on these processes described previously [Gandhi, Hanahan & Olson (1990) J. Biol. Chem. 265, 18234-18241]. On a molar basis ET-3 was significantly more potent than PAF in stimulating phosphoinositide metabolism, e.g. ET-3-induced hydrolysis of phosphoinositides occurred at 1 pM, whereas PAF was ineffective at concentrations less than 1 nM. Upon challenging Kupffer cells with both ET-3 and PAF, an additive stimulation of phosphoinositide metabolism was observed, suggesting that the actions of these factors may be exerted on separate phosphoinositide pools. Treatment of Kupffer cells with pertussis toxin resulted in an inhibition of ET-3-induced phospholipase C activation; in contrast, cholera toxin treatment caused potentiation of ET-3-stimulated phospholipase C activity. Both toxins, however, inhibited PAF-stimulated phospholipase C activity. The present results suggest that the stimulatory effects of ET-3 and PAF on the phosphodiesteric metabolism of phosphoinositides in Kupffer cells require different guanine-nucleotide-binding proteins. Furthermore, the effects of bacterial toxins on ET-3- and PAF-induced phosphoinositide metabolism were not mediated by cyclic AMP. ET-3-induced metabolism of phosphoinositides was inhibited completely in Kupffer cells pretreated with ET-3, suggesting homologous ligand-induced desensitization of the ET-3 receptors. In contrast, similar experiments using PAF showed only a partial desensitization of subsequent PAF-induced phosphoinositide metabolism. In contrast to the increased production of prostaglandins E2 and D2 observed upon stimulation of Kupffer cells with PAF, ET-3 stimulated the biosynthesis of prostaglandin E2 only. Consistent with their additive effects on phosphoinositide metabolism, PAF and ET-3 exhibited an additive stimulation of the synthesis of prostaglandin E2.

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