Journal Article

Arsenic Activates Endothelin-1 Gi Protein–Coupled Receptor Signaling to Inhibit Stem Cell Differentiation in Adipogenesis

Linda R. Klei, D. Yesica Garciafigueroa and Aaron Barchowsky

in Toxicological Sciences

Volume 131, issue 2, pages 512-520
Published in print February 2013 | ISSN: 1096-6080
Published online November 2012 | e-ISSN: 1096-0929 | DOI:
Arsenic Activates Endothelin-1 Gi Protein–Coupled Receptor Signaling to Inhibit Stem Cell Differentiation in Adipogenesis

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Dysfunctional lipid and glucose metabolism contribute to metabolic syndrome—a major public health concern that enhances cardiovascular disease risk. Arsenic (As(III)) exposure may increase metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease risk by impairing adipose tissue differentiation, function, and insulin sensitivity through pathogenic mechanisms that remain unclear. We hypothesized that As(III) signals through the Pertussis toxin (Ptx) sensitive, Gi protein–coupled receptor (GPCR) to impair adipogenesis, as previously demonstrated for its stimulation of vascular oxidant generation, angiogenesis, and remodeling. Because both As(III) and GPCR ligands inhibit progenitor cell differentiation into adipocytes, we investigated the hypothesis in a model of low-passage human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC). As(III) (0.1–1.0µM) suppressed dexamethasone/insulin-induced hMSC adipogenesis, as indicated by decreased transcriptional promoters of differentiation, decreased fat droplet formation, and decreased expression of differentiated adipocyte markers, such as adiponectin and perilipin. Preincubating hMSC with Ptx prevented 90% of the suppressive effect of As(III). Selective competitive antagonists of Gi-coupled endothelin-1 type A and B receptors were ~60% effective in blocking As(III) inhibition and combination of antagonists to both receptors were 85% effective. In contrast, antagonists to the sphingosine-1-phosphate type 1 receptor (previously shown to mediate As(III) vascular effects) or the angiotensin II type 1 receptor were ineffective in blocking As(III) effects. These studies suggest a majority of arsenic-inhibited adipocyte differentiation, and metabolism requires endothelin-1 GPCRs and that As(III) effects on GPCR signaling are tissue and context specific. This may represent a significant mechanism for the contribution of arsenic exposure to increased metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.

Keywords: arsenic; endothelin-1; adipose; adipocyte; mesenchymal stem cell; G protein–; coupled receptor.

Journal Article.  6016 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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