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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Human cerebrovascular contractile receptors are upregulated via a B-Raf/MEK/ERK-sensitive signaling pathway

Hilda Ahnstedt1*, Hans Säveland2, Ola Nilsson2 and Lars Edvinsson1

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Experimental Vascular Research, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

2 Department of Neurosurgery, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden

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BMC Neuroscience 2011, 12:5  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-12-5

Published: 11 January 2011



Cerebral ischemia results in a rapid increase in contractile cerebrovascular receptors, such as the 5-hydroxytryptamine type 1B (5-HT1B), angiotensin II type 1 (AT1), and endothelin type B (ETB) receptors, in the vessel walls within the ischemic region, which further impairs local blood flow and aggravates tissue damage. This receptor upregulation occurs via activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. We therefore hypothesized an important role for B-Raf, the first signaling molecule in the pathway. To test our hypothesis, human cerebral arteries were incubated at 37°C for 48 h in the absence or presence of a B-Raf inhibitor: SB-386023 or SB-590885. Contractile properties were evaluated in a myograph and protein expression of the individual receptors and activated phosphorylated B-Raf (p-B-Raf) was evaluated immunohistochemically.


5-HT1B, AT1, and ETB receptor-mediated contractions were significantly reduced by application of SB-590885, and to a smaller extent by SB-386023. A marked reduction in AT1 receptor immunoreactivity was observed after treatment with SB-590885. Treatment with SB-590885 and SB-386023 diminished the culture-induced increase of p-B-Raf immunoreactivity.


B-Raf signaling has a key function in the altered expression of vascular contractile receptors observed after organ culture. Therefore, specific targeting of B-Raf might be a novel approach to reduce tissue damage after cerebral ischemia by preventing the previously observed upregulation of contractile receptors in smooth muscle cells.