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Metabolism. 1995 Oct;44(10 Suppl 4):58-66.

The insulin-like growth factor system in vascular smooth muscle: interaction with insulin and growth factors.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Linköping, Sweden.


Vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) occur throughout the vascular tree and have important physiological functions. They are also involved in pathological processes such as development and progression of atherosclerotic lesions, restenosis following angioplasty, and in hypertension. This review is focused on the role of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system in proliferation, migration, and hypertrophy of vascular SMCs and its interaction with insulin and other growth factors. The IGF-I receptor is highly expressed in SMCs in intact arteries and in cultured SMCs and is activated by binding of IGF-I to the two alpha-subunits. Insulin and IGF-II from the circulation can interact with the IGF-I receptor at higher concentrations. Insulin receptors are few or absent in SMCs and circulating insulin concentrations in vivo are probably too low for a direct action of insulin on the IGF-I receptor in SMCs. Receptor activation initiates a number of signal transduction pathways. Increased phosphatidylinositol turnover and calcium mobilization correlates with actin filament reorganization and stimulation of directed migration of the SMC in a gradient of IGF-I. The effects of IGF-I receptor activation on signal transduction pathways (eg, the MAP kinase cascade) implicated in DNA synthesis and proliferation are weak and this correlates with the meager mitogenic activity of IGF-I in SMC. Several components of the IGF-system in SMC are regulated by growth factors such as platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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