1. Although stimulation of mouse RAW 264.7 macrophages by UTP elicits a rapid increase in intracellular free Ca2+ ([Ca2+](i)), phosphoinositide (PI) turnover, and arachidonic acid (AA) release, the causal relationship between these signalling pathways is still unclear. In the present study, we investigated the involvement of phosphoinositide-dependent phospholipase C (PI-PLC) activation, Ca2+ increase and protein kinase activation in UTP-induced AA release. The effects of stimulating RAW 264.7 cells with thapsigargin, which cannot activate the inositol phosphate (IP) cascade, but results in the release of sequestered Ca2+ and an influx of extracellular Ca2+, was compared with the effects of UTP stimulation to elucidate the multiple regulatory pathways for cPLA2 activation. 2. In RAW 264.7 cells UTP (100 μM) and thapsigargin (1 μM) caused 2 and 1.2 fold increases, respectively, in [3H]-AA release. The release of [3H]-AA following treatment with UTP and thapsigargin were non-additive, totally abolished in the Ca2+-free buffer, BAPTA (30 μM)-containing buffer or in the presence of the cPLA2 inhibitor MAFP (50 μM), and inhibited by pretreatment of cells with pertussis toxin (100 ng ml-1) or 4-bromophenacyl bromide (100 μM). By contrast, aristolochic acid (an inhibitor of sPLA2) had no effect on UTP and thapsigargin responses. 3. U73122 (10 μM) and neomycin (3 mM), inhibitors of PI-PLC, inhibited UTP-induced IP formation (88% and 83% inhibition, respectively) and AA release (76% and 58%, respectively), accompanied by a decrease in the [Ca2+](i) rise. 4. Wortmannin attenuated the IP response of UTP in a concentration-dependent manner (over the range 10 nM-3 μM), and reduced the UTP-induced AA release in parallel. RHC 80267 (30 μM), a specific diacylglycerol lipase inhibitor, had no effect on UTP-induced AA release. 5. Short-term treatment with PMA (1 μM) inhibited the UTP-stimulated accumulation of IP and increase in [Ca2+](i), but had no effect on the release of AA. In contrast, the AA release caused by thapsigargin was increased by PMA. 6. The role of PKC in UTP- and thapsigargin-mediated AA release was shown by the blockade of these effects by staurosporine (1 μM), Ro 31-8220 (10 μM), Go 6976 (1 μM) and the down-regulation of PKC. 7. Following treatment of cells with SK and F 96365 (30 μM), thapsigargin-, but not UTP-, induced Ca2+ influx, and the accompanying AA release, were down-regulated. 8. Neither PD 98059 (100 μM), MEK a inhibitor, nor genistein (100 μM), a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, had any effect on the AA responses induced by UTP and thapsigargin. 9. We conclude that UTP-induced cPLA2 activity depends on the activation of PI-PLC and the sustained elevation of intracellular Ca2+, which is essential for the activation of cPLA2 by UTP and thapsigargin. The [Ca2+](i)-dependent AA release that follows treatment with both stimuli was potentiated by the activity of protein kinase C (PKC). A pertussis toxin-sensitive pathway downstream of the increase in [Ca2+](i) was also shown to be involved in AA release.
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