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Cilostazol is a phosphodiesterase inhibitor that has been shown to inhibit platelet activation. Endothelin is known to be the most potent endogenous growth promoting and vasoactive peptide. In patients and animal models with stroke, the level of circulating endothelin increases and complicates the recovery progress contributed by vascular constriction (an immediate pathology) and vascular proliferation (a long-term pathology). However, the effects of cilostazol on endothelin have not been explored. To demonstrate the dual-antagonizing effects of cilostazol on vasoconstriction and cell proliferation induced by endothelin, we used primary culture of mouse vascular smooth muscle cells in vitro, mouse femoral artery ex vivo, and intracranial basilar artery ex vivo. We show that the dual-inhibition effects of cilostazol are mediated by blocking endothelin-induced extracellular calcium influx. Although cilostazol does not inhibit endothelin-induced intraorganellar calcium release, blockade of extracellular calcium influx is sufficient to blunt endothelin-induced vasoconstriction. We also show that cilostazol inhibits endothelin-induced cellular proliferation by blocking extracellular calcium influx. Inhibition of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) can block anti-proliferation activity of cilostazol, confirming the downstream role of PKA in cellular proliferation. To further demonstrate the selectivity of the dual-antagonizing effects of cilostazol, we used a different phosphodiesterase inhibitor. Interestingly, sildenafil inhibits endothelin-induced vasoconstriction but not cellular proliferation in smooth muscle cells. For the first time, we show selective dual-antagonizing effects of cilostazol on endothelin. We propose that cilostazol is an excellent candidate to treat endothelin-associated diseases, such as stroke.


This article was originally published in PLoS One, volume 7, issue 9, in 2012. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044476

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