Effects of benzo-a-pyrene on oxytocin-induced Ca2+ oscillations in myometrial cells

Rola Barhoumi, Igbal Awooda, Youssef Mouneimne, Stephen Safe, Robert C. Burghardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Benzo-a-pyrene (BaP) is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon that exists as a major environmental pollutant. The effect of this carcinogen/mutagen upon myometrial Ca2+ signaling in a human myometrial cell line (PHM1) was examined. Exposure of cells to BaP did not alter basal Ca2+ levels or the inositol(1,4,5) trisphosphate-releasable Ca2+ pool. However, BaP significantly decreased the initial oxytocin-induced Ca2+ transient and the frequency of oxytocin-induced Ca2+oscillations as well as delayed their onset. To determine the specific effects of BaP, pharmacologic agents that target intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis mechanisms were used. Genistein (a non-specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor) and AG1478 (an epidermal growth factor receptor blocker) markedly reduced the oxytocin-induced Ca2+ oscillations in control, but had no effect in BaP treated cells. Addition of epidermal growth factor or serum before or after oxytocin restored the Ca2+ oscillations in BaP treated cells to a level similar to control cells, while the K+ channel blocker tetraethylammonium chloride, partially restored the Ca2+ response. These data suggest that the tyrosine kinase pathway, which is part of the G-protein coupled receptor pathway response to oxytocin in PHM1 cells, is a target of BaP action and that EGF or serum can restore the oxytocin-induced Ca2+ oscillations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-141
Number of pages9
JournalToxicology Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 20 2006


  • Benzo-a-pyrene
  • Calcium oscillations
  • Epidermal growth factor
  • Human myometrial cells
  • Store operated channels
  • Tyrosine kinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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