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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Aug 15;97(17):9385-9.

Molecular mechanism of endothelial growth arrest by laminar shear stress.

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Departments of Bioengineering and Medicine, and The Whitaker Institute of Biomedical Engineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093, USA.


This study was designed to elucidate the mechanism underlying the inhibition of endothelial cell growth by laminar shear stress. Tumor suppressor gene p53 was increased in bovine aortic endothelial cells subjected to 24 h of laminar shear stress at 3 dynes (1 dyne = 10 microN)/cm(2) or higher, but not at 1.5 dynes/cm(2). One of the mechanisms of the shear-induced increase in p53 is its stabilization after phosphorylation by c-Jun N-terminal kinase. To investigate the consequence of the shear-induced p53 response, we found that prolonged laminar shear stress caused increases of the growth arrest proteins GADD45 (growth arrest and DNA damage inducible protein 45) and p21(cip1), as well as a decrease in phosphorylation of the retinoblastoma gene product. Our results suggest that prolonged laminar shear stress causes a sustained p53 activation, which induces the up-regulation of GADD45 and p21(cip1). The resulting inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase and hypophosphorylation of retinoblastoma protein lead to endothelial cell cycle arrest. This inhibition of endothelial cell proliferation by laminar shear stress may serve an important homeostatic function by preventing atherogenesis in the straight part of the arterial tree that is constantly subjected to high levels of laminar shearing.

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