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Exp Cell Res. 2008 Oct 1;314(16):2919-29. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2008.07.010. Epub 2008 Jul 22.

Glycogen synthase kinase 3beta regulation of nuclear factor of activated T-cells isoform c1 in the vascular smooth muscle cell response to injury.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Medical Sciences Building, 1 Kings College Circle, Rm. 6213, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A8.


The migration and proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (vSMCs) are critical events in neointima formation during atherosclerosis and restenosis. The transcription factor nuclear factor of activated T-cells-isoform c1 (NFATc1) is regulated by atherogenic cytokines, and has been implicated in the migratory and proliferative responses of vSMCs through the regulation of gene expression. In T-cells, calcineurin de-phosphorylates NFATc1, leading to its nuclear import, while glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK3beta) phosphorylates NFATc1 and promotes its nuclear export. However, the relationship between NFATc1 and GSK3beta has not been studied during SMC migration and proliferation. We investigated this by scrape wounding vSMCs in vitro, and studying wound repair. NFATc1 protein was transiently increased, reaching a peak at 8 h after wounding. Cell fractionation and immunocytochemistry revealed that NFATc1 accumulation in the nucleus was maximal at 4 h after injury, and this was coincident with a significant 9 fold increase in transcriptional activity. Silencing NFATc1 expression with siRNA or inhibition of NFAT with cyclosporin A (CsA) attenuated wound closure by vSMCs. Phospho-GSK3beta (inactive) increased to a peak at 30 min after injury, preceding the nuclear accumulation of NFATc1. Overexpression of a constitutively active mutant of GSK3beta delayed the nuclear accumulation of NFATc1, caused a 50% decrease in NFAT transcriptional activity, and attenuated vSMC wound repair. We conclude that NFATc1 promotes the vSMC response to injury, and that inhibition of GSK3beta is required for the activation of NFAT during wound repair.

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