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Circulation. 2001 Jul 3;104(1):16-8.

Synergistic effect of urotensin II with mildly oxidized LDL on DNA synthesis in vascular smooth muscle cells.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center, Third Department of Internal Medicine, Showa University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.



The urotensin II (UII) found in coronary atheroma is the most potent vasoconstrictor known to date. Mildly oxidized LDL (moxLDL) contributes to atherogenesis and plaque formation. We assessed the effect of UII and its interaction with moxLDL and the oxidative components of moxLDL on vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation. Methods and Results-Growth-arrested VSMCs were incubated in serum-free medium with different concentrations of LDL, moxLDL, oxLDL, hydrogen peroxide, lysophosphatidylcholine, or 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal, with or without UII. [(3)H]Thymidine incorporation into DNA was measured as an index of VSMC proliferation. UII stimulated [(3)H]thymidine incorporation in a dose-dependent manner, with a maximal effect at a concentration of 50 nmol/L (161%). Low concentrations of UII potentiated the mitogenic effect of LDL (108% to 242%), oxLDL (129% to 302%), moxLDL (120% to 337%), hydrogen peroxide (177% to 226%), lysophosphatidylcholine (115% to 332%), and 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (142% to 299%). The synergistic interaction between UII and moxLDL was partially inhibited by anti-Gq/11alpha antibody, the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor erbstatin A (10 micromol/L), and the intracellular free radical scavenger N-acetylcysteine (400 micromol/L) and was completely inhibited by the c-Src tyrosine kinase inhibitor radicicol (10 micromol/L), the protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor Ro31-8220 (0.1 micromol/L), and the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) kinase inhibitor PD098059 (10 micromol/L).


Our results suggest that UII acts synergistically with moxLDL in inducing VSMC proliferation via the c-Src/PKC/MAPK pathway, which may explain the relatively rapid progression of atherosclerosis in patients with hypertension and hypercholesterolemia.

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