1. To further explore the mechanisms of arterial growth, we investigated the signalling pathways through which arginine-vasopressin acts as a mitogen in cultured adventitial aortic fibroblasts of the spontaneously hypertensive rat, and we examined the mechanisms involved in the hyperresponsiveness to arginine-vasopressin of fibroblasts from spontaneously hypertensive rats compared with fibroblasts from Wistar-Kyoto rats.

2. Arginine-vasopressin-induced [3H]thymidine incorporation was used to determine the peptide mitogenicity. Arginine-vasopressin-triggered hydrolysis of phosphoinositides by phospholipase C was evaluated by measuring [3H]inositol phosphate formation. The role of protein kinase C and protein tyrosine kinases in arginine-vasopressin mitogenicity was assessed by stimulating the cells with arginine-vasopressin in the presence of 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate and tyrphostin (a tyrosine kinase inhibitor), respectively.

3. Arginine-vasopressin-induced DNA synthesis was completely abolished in confluent cells, whereas [3H]inositol phosphate formation was only reduced. The presence of 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate markedly decreased arginine-vasopressin-induced [3H]thymidine incorporation in fibroblasts from spontaneously hypertensive rats and was without effect in fibroblasts from Wistar-Kyoto rats. Tyrphostin abolished arginine-vasopressin-induced [3H]thymidine incorporation in a dose-dependent manner and did not affect the formation of inositol phosphates.

4. These results indicate that phospholipase C activation is not sufficient for arginine-vasopressin-induced mitogenesis. They also suggest that (i) tyrosine kinase activation is a necessary step in the transduction of the arginine-vasopressin mitogenic signal, and (ii) protein kinase C participates in the increased mitogenic potency of arginine-vasopressin in spontaneously hypertensive rats.

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