Inhibitory crosstalk between ERK and AMPK in the growth and proliferation of cardiac fibroblasts

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Apr 4;368(2):402-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.01.099. Epub 2008 Feb 1.


Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) is one of the key protein kinases that regulate the growth and proliferation in cardiac fibroblasts (CFs). As an energy sensor of cellular metabolism, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is found recently to be involved in myocardial remodeling. In this study, we investigated the crosstalk between ERK and AMPK in the growth and proliferation of CFs. In neonatal rat cardiac fibroblasts (NRCFs), we found that serum significantly inhibited basal AMPK phosphorylation between 10min and 24h and also partially inhibited AMPK phosphorylation by AMPK activator, 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-ribonucleoside (AICAR). Furthermore, ERK inhibitor could greatly reverse the inhibition of AMPK by serum. Conversely, activation of AMPK by AICAR also showed a significant inhibition of basal and serum-induced ERK phosphorylation but it showed a delayed and steadfast inhibition which appeared after 60min and lasted until 12h. Moreover, inhibition of ERK could repress the activation of p70S6K, an important kinase in cardiac proliferation, and AICAR could also inhibit p70S6K phosphorylation. In addition, under both serum and serum-free medium, AICAR significantly inhibited the DNA synthesis and cell numbers, and reduced cells at S phase. In conclusion, AMPK activation with AICAR inhibited growth and proliferation in cardiac fibroblasts, which involved inhibitory interactions between ERK and AMPK. This is the first report that AMPK could be a target of ERK in growth factors-induced proliferation, which may give a new mechanism that growth factors utilize in their promotion of proliferation in cardiac fibroblasts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cell Enlargement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / cytology*
  • Fibroblasts / physiology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / physiology*
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Protein Kinases
  • AMP-activated protein kinase kinase
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases