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J Biol Chem. 2002 Jun 21;277(25):22985-91. Epub 2002 Mar 12.

c-Jun regulates vascular smooth muscle cell growth and neointima formation after arterial injury. Inhibition by a novel DNA enzyme targeting c-Jun.

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  • 1Centre for Thrombosis and Vascular Research, Department of Pathology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia.


Neointima formation is a characteristic feature of common vascular pathologies, such as atherosclerosis and post-angioplasty restenosis, and involves smooth muscle cell proliferation. Determination of whether the bZIP transcription factor c-Jun plays a direct regulatory role in arterial lesion formation, or indeed in other disease, has been hampered by the lack of a potent and specific pharmacological inhibitor. c-Jun is poorly expressed in the uninjured artery wall and transiently induced following arterial injury in animal models. Here we generated a gene-specific DNAzyme-targeting c-Jun. We show that c-Jun protein is expressed in human atherosclerotic lesions. Dz13, a catalytically active c-Jun DNAzyme, cleaved c-Jun RNA and inhibited inducible c-Jun protein expression in vascular smooth muscle cells. Dz13 blocked vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation with potency exceeding its exact non-catalytic antisense oligodeoxynucleotide equivalent. Moreover, Dz13 abrogated smooth muscle cell repair following scraping injury in vitro and intimal thickening in injured rat carotid arteries in vivo. These studies demonstrate the positive influence on neointima formation by c-Jun and the therapeutic potential of a DNAzyme controlling its expression.

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