Celecoxib, rofecoxib, and diclofenac are clinically used cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors, which have been under intense scrutiny because long-term rofecoxib (Vioxx; Merck, Whitehouse Station, NJ) treatment was found to increase the risk of adverse cardiovascular events. A differential risk profile for these drugs has emerged, but the underlying mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. We investigated the effects of celecoxib, rofecoxib, and diclofenac on ionic currents and calcium signaling in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) using patch-clamp techniques and fura-2 fluorescence and on arterial constriction using pressure myography. Celecoxib, but not rofecoxib or diclofenac, dramatically enhanced KCNQ (Kv7) potassium currents and suppressed L-type voltage-sensitive calcium currents in A7r5 rat aortic smooth muscle cells (native KCNQ currents or overexpressed human KCNQ5 currents) and freshly isolated rat mesenteric artery myocytes. The effects of celecoxib were concentration-dependent within the therapeutic concentration range, and were reversed on washout. Celecoxib, but not rofecoxib, also inhibited calcium responses to vasopressin in A7r5 cells and dilated intact or endothelium-denuded rat mesenteric arteries. A celecoxib analog, 2,5-dimethyl-celecoxib, which does not inhibit COX-2, mimicked celecoxib in its enhancement of vascular KCNQ5 currents, suppression of L-type calcium currents, and vasodilation. We conclude that celecoxib inhibits calcium responses in VSMCs by enhancing KCNQ5 currents and suppressing L-type calcium currents, which ultimately reduces vascular tone. These effects are independent of its COX-2 inhibitory actions and may explain the differential risk of cardiovascular events in patients taking different drugs of this class.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine