Cyclic stretch activates p38 SAPK2-, ErbB2-, and AT1-dependent signaling in bladder smooth muscle cells

H. T. Nguyen, R. M. Adam, S. H. Bride, J. M. Park, Craig A Peters, M. R. Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Cyclic mechanical stretch of bladder smooth muscle cells (SMC) increases rates of DNA synthesis and stimulates transcription of the gene for heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF), an ErbB1/EGF receptor ligand that has been linked to hypertrophic bladder growth. In this study we sought to clarify the signaling pathways responsible for mechanotransduction of the stretch stimulus. HB-EGF mRNA levels, DNA synthesis, and AP-1/Ets DNA binding activities were induced by repetitive stretch of primary culture rat bladder SMC. Inhibitors of the p38 SAPK2 pathway, the angiotensin receptor type 1 (AT1), and the ErbB2 tyrosine kinase reduced each of these activities, while an inhibitor of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase mitogen-activated protein kinase (Erk-MAPK) pathway had no effect. Stretch rapidly activated stress-activated protein kinase 2 (p38 SAPK2) and Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK)/SAPK pathways but not the Erk-MAPK pathway and induced ErbB2 but not ErbB1 phosphorylation. Angiotensin II (ANG II) a bladder SMC mitogen previously linked to the stretch response, did not activate ErbB2, and ErbB2 activation occurred in response to stretch in the presence of an ANG receptor inhibitor, indicating that activation of the AT1-mediated pathway and the ErbB2-dependent pathway occurs by independent mechanisms, p38 SAPK2 and JNK/SAPK signaling also appeared to be independent of the ErbB2 and AT1 pathways. These findings indicate that stretch-stimulated DNA synthesis and gene expression in normal bladder SMC occur via multiple independent receptor systems (e.g., AT1 and ErbB2) and at least one MAPK pathway (p38 SAPK2). Further, we show that the Erk-MAPK pathway, which in most systems is linked to receptor-dependent cell growth responses, is not involved in progression to DNA synthesis or in the response of the HB-EGF gene to mechanical forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C1155-C1167
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number4 48-4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Angiotensin
  • ErbB1/EGF receptor
  • ErbB2/c-Neu
  • Jun amino-terminal kinase/stress-activated protein kinase
  • Mitogen-activated protein kinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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