Although the cGMP-dependent relaxation of contractile cells seems to depend on the ability of the cyclic nucleotide to interfere with intracellular calcium, this does not appear to be the only mechanism involved. The present experiments were designed to analyse alternative mechanisms, trying to test the hypothesis that cGMP could relax rat mesangial cells by activating myosin light-chain phosphatase (MLC-PP), with the subsequent dephosphorylation of myosin light chain (MLC). The effect of a cGMP analogue, dibutyryl cGMP (dbcGMP), on angiotensin II-(AII) and PMA-induced MLC phosphorylation (MLCP) was tested, in the presence of calyculin A (CA), an inhibitor of MLC-PP. MLCP was measured, after cell labelling with 32P, by immunoprecipitation. dbcGMP prevented the increased MLCP induced by AII or PMA, and this inhibition was blocked by CA. dbcGMP also increased the MLC dephosphorylation observed in cells incubated with AII and in which MLC kinase and protein kinase C activities were blocked. The AII-elicited increased intracellular calcium concentration was only partially inhibited by dbcGMP. These results suggest that the cGMP-induced mesangial-cell relaxation could be due, at least partially, to the stimulation of MLC-PP.

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