Signalling switches maintain intercellular communication in the vascular endothelium : endothelial Ca2+ waves driven by regenerative IP3-induced IP3 production

Buckley, Charlotte and Lee, Matthew D. and Zhang, Xun and Wilson, Calum and McCarron, John G. (2024) Signalling switches maintain intercellular communication in the vascular endothelium : endothelial Ca2+ waves driven by regenerative IP3-induced IP3 production. British Journal of Pharmacology. ISSN 1476-5381 (https://doi.org/10.1111/bph.16366)

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Abstract

Background and Purpose: The single layer of cells lining all blood vessels, the endothelium, is a sophisticated signal co‐ordination centre that controls a wide range of vascular functions including the regulation of blood pressure and blood flow. To co‐ordinate activities, communication among cells is required for tissue level responses to emerge. While a significant form of communication occurs by the propagation of signals between cells, the mechanism of propagation in the intact endothelium is unresolved. Experimental Approach: Precision signal generation and targeted cellular manipulation was used in conjunction with high spatiotemporal mesoscale Ca2+ imaging in the endothelium of intact blood vessels. Key Results: Multiple mechanisms maintain communication so that Ca2+ wave propagation occurs irrespective of the status of connectivity among cells. Between adjoining cells, regenerative IP3‐induced IP3 production transmits Ca2+ signals and explains the propagated vasodilation that underlies the increased blood flow accompanying tissue activity. The inositide is itself sufficient to evoke regenerative phospholipase C‐dependent Ca2+ waves across coupled cells. None of gap junctions, Ca2+ diffusion or the release of extracellular messengers is required to support this type of intercellular Ca2+ signalling. In contrast, when discontinuities exist between cells, ATP released as a diffusible extracellular messenger transmits Ca2+ signals across the discontinuity and drives propagated vasodilation. Conclusion and Implications: These results show that signalling switches underlie endothelial cell‐to‐cell signal transmission and reveal how communication is maintained in the face of endothelial damage. The findings provide a new framework for understanding wave propagation and cell signalling in the endothelium.