Involvement of Rho-kinase-mediated phosphorylation of myosin light chain in enhancement of cerebral vasospasm

Motohiko Sato, Eiichi Tani, Hirokazu Fujikawa, Kozo Kaibuchi

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212 Citations (Scopus)


Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) often induces a long-term narrowing of the cerebral artery called cerebral vasospasm. Myosin light chain (MLC) in the spastic basilar artery was reported previously to be phosphorylated by Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent MLC kinase. Because Rho-kinase, which is activated by the small GTPase Rho, phosphorylates not only MLC but also myosin phosphatase at its myosin-binding subunit (MBS), thus inactivating myosin phosphatase, we examined whether Rho-kinase is involved in the development of vasospasm. Cerebral vasospasm was produced in the canine basilar artery by a 2-hemorrhage method, and vasocontractions were induced by topical application of 80 mmol/L KCl or 0.5 μmol/L serotonin to the canine basilar artery exposed transclivally. The phosphorylation of MLC in the basilar artery was increased concurrently with an enhancement in the intensity of vasospasm with the passage of time after SAH. In addition, Rho-kinase in the basilar artery was activated concurrently with an increase in the phosphorylation of MBS at Ser854 in vasospasm. The Rho-kinase activation levels in vasospasm on days 0 and 2 were comparable to those in KCl- and serotonin-induced sustained vasocontraction, respectively, and those in vasospasm on day 7 were markedly high. The topical application of Y-27632, a specific inhibitor of Rho-kinase, to the exposed spastic basilar artery on day 7 induced a dose-dependent dilation, and the intensities of vasospasm and the phosphorylation of MBS and MLC were simultaneously decreased by 10 μmol/L Y-27632, although the decrease in MBS phosphorylation was more marked than the decrease in MLC phosphorylation. These results indicate that the activation of Rho-kinase and the phosphorylation of MLC and MBS occur concomitantly during vasospasm induced by SAH and suggest that Rho-kinase is involved in the enhancement of cerebral vasospasm in addition to Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent MLC kinase by increasing the phosphorylation of MLC directly or indirectly as a result of the inhibition of myosin phosphatase by its phosphorylation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-200
Number of pages6
JournalCirculation research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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