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BioMed Research International
Volume 2019, Article ID 7387803, 10 pages
Research Article

Electrical Stimulation Activates Fibroblasts through the Elevation of Intracellular Free Ca2+: Potential Mechanism of Pelvic Electrical Stimulation Therapy

Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, Hubei, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Li Hong; moc.liamg@7777ilgnohrd

Received 28 December 2018; Revised 19 March 2019; Accepted 3 April 2019; Published 21 April 2019

Academic Editor: Anna Chiarini

Copyright © 2019 Suting Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ca2+ is an important ion in response to electrical stimulation (ES) and acts as second messenger in the regulation of various physiological processes. Pelvic floor electrical stimulation (PES) is a low-voltage clinical application, available for urinary incontinence (UI) treatment. Fibroblasts, as the main cellular component of vaginal wall and pelvic ligament, play an important role in the maintenance of pelvic health. We studied the effect of ES on fibroblasts in this study. ES was conducted with electrotaxis chambers on L929 fibroblast and the ES parameter was 100 mV/mm×2h. The results showed that ES increased intracellular Ca2+ concentration, promoted the expression of PCNA, CyclinB1, and CyclinD1, and increased the proportion of cells in S and G2 phages. After ES, fibroblasts get activated and proliferated. Besides, BAPTA-AM, a membrane permeated chelator for intracellular free Ca2+, partially inhibited the effect of ES on fibroblasts activation and proliferation promotion. Furthermore, we elucidated that Ca2+, as a second messenger and upstream signal for Smads and Akt signaling, regulated ES-induced nuclear translocation of smad2/3, phosphorylation of smad2/3, Akt, and GSK3β. Finally, we validated the effect of ES on PES mouse model. The results indicated that PES promoted the activation and proliferation of fibroblasts in vivo. In conclusion, we verify that ES can elevate the concentration of intracellular Ca2+ and activate its downstream signaling and then promote the activation of fibroblasts, which may be one of the mechanisms of PES therapy.