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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2005 Jan;288(1):C81-8. Epub 2004 Sep 22.

Expression of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor is induced in injured rat carotid arteries and mediates vascular smooth muscle cell migration.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Cardiovascular Research Center, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19140, USA.


Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) is a lineage-restricted hematopoietic growth factor that stimulates proliferation and maturation of hematopoietic progenitors and is a known powerful mobilizer of bone marrow-derived stem cells. Very little has been reported on G-CSF expression and modulation of vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) activation. The purpose of this study was to characterize the expression and effects of G-CSF on primary human VSMC and balloon angioplasty-injured rat carotid arteries. In cultured human VSMC, G-CSF mRNA and protein expression are induced by several cytokines, with the most potent being fetal calf serum and T-lymphocyte-conditioned media. G-CSF is not expressed in naive rat carotid arteries but is induced in neointimal SMC in carotid arteries subject to balloon angioplasty. G-CSF is chemotactic for human VSMC. There is a significant difference between unstimulated cells and those treated with G-CSF at 100 and 1,000 pg/ml (P < 0.01 and 0.05 for 3 experiments). G-CSF also activates the GTPase Rac1, a regulator of cellular migration in VSMC. Inhibition of Rac1 inhibits G-CSF-driven VSMC migration. Important signal transduction protein kinases, including p44/42 MAPK, Akt, and S6 kinase, are also activated in response to G-CSF. This is the first report describing the expression of G-CSF in injured arteries and the multiple effects of G-CSF on VSMC activation. Together, our data suggest that G-CSF is an important mediator of inflammatory cell-VSMC communication and VSMC autocrine activation and may be an important mediator of the VSMC response to injury.

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