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Periodic mechanical stress activates EGFR-dependent Rac1 mitogenic signals in rat nucleus pulpous cells via ERK1/2
- Gao, Gongming, Shen, Nan, Jiang, Xuefeng, Sun, Huiqing, Xu, Nanwei, Zhou, Dong, Nong, Luming, Ren, Kewei
- Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2016 v.469 pp. 723-730
- cell culture, cell proliferation, mechanical stress, phosphorylation, rats, signal transduction
- The mitogenic effects of periodic mechanical stress on nucleus pulpous cells have been studied extensively but the mechanisms whereby nucleus pulpous cells sense and respond to mechanical stimulation remain a matter of debate. We explored this question by performing cell culture experiments in our self-developed periodic stress field and perfusion culture system. Under periodic mechanical stress, rat nucleus pulpous cell proliferation was significantly increased (p < 0.05 for each) and was associated with increases in the phosphorylation and activation of EGFR, Rac1, and ERK1/2 (p < 0.05 for each). Pretreatment with the ERK1/2 selective inhibitor PD98059 reduced periodic mechanical stress-induced nucleus pulpous cell proliferation (p < 0.05 for each), while the activation levels of EGFR and Rac1 were not inhibited. Proliferation and phosphorylation of ERK1/2 were inhibited after pretreatment with the Rac1 inhibitor NSC23766 in nucleus pulpous cells in response to periodic mechanical stress (p < 0.05 for each), while the phosphorylation site of EGFR was not affected. Inhibition of EGFR activity with AG1478 abrogated nucleus pulpous cell proliferation (p < 0.05 for each) and attenuated Rac1 and ERK1/2 activation in nucleus pulpous cells subjected to periodic mechanical stress (p < 0.05 for each). These findings suggest that periodic mechanical stress promotes nucleus pulpous cell proliferation in part through the EGFR-Rac1-ERK1/2 signaling pathway, which links these three important signaling molecules into a mitogenic cascade.