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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2001 May;21(5):785-90.

Upregulatory expression of furin and transforming growth factor-beta by fluid shear stress in vascular endothelial cells.

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Department of Molecular Medicine, Institute for Molecular and Cellular Regulation, Gunma University, Maebashi, Japan.


Furin, a yeast Kex2-family endoprotease, converts many vasoregulatory propeptides, including pro-transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta to their mature forms. We examined whether furin expression is regulated by shear stress in vivo and in vitro. When an arteriovenous shunt was placed between the carotid artery and external jugular vein in rabbits, furin and TGF-beta were highly expressed in shear stress-loaded endothelial cells. Exposure of bovine aortic endothelial cells in culture to shear stress induced furin and TGF-beta expression in a similar manner. Molecular analysis of furin expression in bovine aortic endothelial cells revealed that shear stress increases the furin gene expression at transcriptional levels. Furthermore, TGF-beta itself increased the furin mRNA levels. Shear-mediated furin expression was partly mediated by TGF-beta because shear-induced furin mRNA levels were considerably decreased by overexpression of the truncated form of the TGF-beta type II receptor. Likewise, blockade of furin activity by a furin inhibitor significantly decreased the endothelial production of mature TGF-beta. Taken together, the results indicate that furin expression is induced and maintained by a coordination of shear stress and TGF-beta. Increased furin expression may facilitate the formation of mature TGF-beta, resulting in the enhanced effects of TGF-beta on endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells in the vasculature.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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