Enhanced Ca2+ response and stimulation of prostaglandin release by the bradykinin B2 receptor in human retinal pigment epithelial cells primed with proinflammatory cytokines

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Graphical abstractKallikrein, kininogen and kinin receptors are present in human ocular tissues including the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), suggesting a possible role of bradykinin (BK) in physiological and/or pathological conditions. To test this hypothesis, kinin receptors expression and function was investigated for the first time in human fetal RPE cells, a model close to native RPE, in both control conditions and after treatment with proinflammatory cytokines. Results showed that BK evoked intracellular Ca2+ transients in human RPE cells by activating the kinin B2 receptor. Pretreatment of the cells with TNF-α and/or IL-1β enhanced Ca2+ response in a time- and concentration-dependent additive manner, whereas the potency of BK and that of the selective B2 receptor antagonist, fasitibant chloride, both in the nanomolar range, remained unaffected. Cytokines have no significant effect on cell number and viability and on the activity of other GPCRs such as the kinin B1, acetylcholine, ATP and thrombin receptors. Immunoblot analysis and immunofluorescence studies revealed that cytokines treatment was associated with an increase in both kinin B2 receptor and COX-2 expression and with the secretion of prostaglandin E1 and E2 into the extracellular medium. BK, through activation of the kinin B2 receptor, potentiated the COX-2 mediated prostaglandin release in cytokines-primed RPE cells while new protein synthesis and prostaglandin production contribute to the potentiating effect of cytokines on BK-induced Ca2+ response. In conclusion, overall data revealed a cross-talk between the kinin B2 receptor and cytokines in human RPE in promoting inflammation, a key feature in retinal pathologies including diabetic retinopathy and macular edema.

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