Results of the present study demonstrate that activation of the adenylyl cyclase/protein kinase A (PKA) pathway leads to increased levels of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) in cultured embryonic mouse mandibular mesenchymal cells. Treatment of serum-free cultures with 10–8M 8-OH-DPAT (DPAT) or with 10–5M forskolin in the presence of the phosphodiesterase inhibitor isobutylmethylxanthine (IBMX; 10–5M) increased levels of IGF-I (but not IGF-II), as measured by [125I]protein A immunobinding. In a previous study, we showed that DPAT, forskolin, IBMX and the 5-HT4 receptor agonist SC53116 all increased the synthesis of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) in these cultures. Taken together, these results provide evidence that stimulation of the adenylyl cyclase/PKA pathway in embryonic mandibular mesenchymal cells positively regulates IGF-I. This is supported by the ability of the PKA inhibitor Rp-cAMPS to block increases in IGF-I caused by both DPAT and forskolin. Consistent with these results, DPAT and forskolin increased phosphorylation of the cAMP response element binding protein (CREB), which was also blocked by Rp-cAMPS. These results suggest that activation of 5-HT receptors positively coupled to the adenylyl cyclase/PKA pathway may promote transcription of IGF-I through a cAMP response element (CRE) in the IGF-I promoter. This may represent one mechanism whereby 5-HT positively regulates IGF-I expression in developing craniofacial mesenchymal cells.
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