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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2011 Jul 29;411(2):402-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.06.163. Epub 2011 Jul 2.

Cilostazol reduces MCP-1-induced chemotaxis and adhesion of THP-1 monocytes by inhibiting CCR2 gene expression.

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Graduate Institute of Clinical Medical Sciences, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan, ROC.


The chemotaxis and adhesion of monocytes to the injured endothelium in the early atherosclerosis is important. Cilostazol, a specific phosphodiesterase type III inhibitor, is known to exhibit anti-atherosclerotic effects mediated by different mechanisms. This study aimed to investigate the modulating effect of cilostazol on the MCP-1-induced chemotaxis and adhesion of monocytes. The gene expression of CCR2, the major receptor of MCP-1 in THP-1 monocytes, was also analyzed. The chemotaxis of monocytes toward MCP-1 was investigated using the transwell filter assay. Cilostazol dose-dependently inhibited the MCP-1-induced chemotaxis of monocytes which was shown to be cAMP-dependent. Using western blot analysis and flow cytometry method, we demonstrated the decrease of CCR2 protein at the cell membrane of monocytes by cilostazol treatment. Results from RT/real-time PCR confirmed the decrease of CCR2 mRNA expression by cilostazol which was also mediated by cAMP. Similar inhibition was also noted in human peripheral monocytes. The post-CCR2 signaling pathways including p44/42 and p38 MAPK were examined by western blot analysis. Result confirmed the inhibitory effect of cilostazol on the phosphorylation of p44/42 and p38 MAPK after MCP-1 stimulation. The activation of monocytes after MCP-1 treatment exhibited enhanced adhesion to vascular endothelial cells which was dose-dependently suppressed by cilostazol. Together, cilostazol was demonstrated, for the first time, to inhibit the CCR2 gene expression and MCP-1-induced chemotaxis and adhesion of monocytes which might therefore reduce the infiltration of monocytes during the early atherosclerosis. The present study provides an additional molecular mechanism underlying the anti-atherosclerotic effects of cilostazol.

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