Effect of cyclic AMP on the intracellular degradation of newly synthesized collagen.
Prostaglandin E1 and cholera toxin increased the intracellular levels of cyclic AMP of human lung fibroblasts. With prostaglandin E1, the increase in cyclic AMP occurred within 10 min followed by a decline to less than one-half of peak values in 6 h. With cholera toxin, the increase occurred within 60 min but the level of cyclic AMP remained increased for 6 h. Both agents caused a decrease in collagen production as expressed as the proportion of newly synthesized protein represented by collagen. The increase in cyclic AMP levels was accompanied by a marked increase in the proportion of newly synthesized collagen which was degraded intracellularly prior to secretion. Analysis of the degraded collagen showed it to be predominantly less than 1000 daltons in molecular mass, but still in peptide linkage. The data are consistent with the hypothesis that cyclic AMP levels in diploid fibroblasts regulate the amount of collagen produced by fibroblasts, at least in part, by modulating the level of intracellular collagen degradation.