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J Cell Physiol. 1994 Sep;160(3):469-81.

Enhanced growth capacity of neonatal pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells in vitro: dependence on cell size, time from birth, insulin-like growth factor I, and auto-activation of protein kinase C.

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Cardiovascular Pulmonary and Developmental Lung Biology Research Laboratories, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver 80262.


Based on the unique susceptibility of the neonatal pulmonary circulation to hypoxia-induced structural alteration in vivo, we hypothesized that pulmonary artery (PA) smooth muscle cells (SMC) from the neonate would demonstrate enhanced growth capacity in vitro compared to adult cells. To test this hypothesis, matched neonatal and adult bovine SMC were tested for differences in size, serum-stimulated proliferation, susceptibility to senescence, resistance to serum withdrawal, autocrine growth capacity, and responsiveness to a locally important growth factor (insulin-like growth factor I; IGF-I) and an activator of protein kinase C (PKC) (phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate; PMA). Neonatal PA SMC were smaller, grew faster, reached a higher plateau density, and were less susceptible to senescence. They were more resistant to serum withdrawal, had spontaneous autocrine growth capacity, and were more responsive to IGF-I, PMA, and the combination. Acquisition of increased growth factor responsiveness occurred between d5 and d14 after birth. Increased neonatal growth to IGF-I was associated with reduced IGF-I binding activity, implicating a post-receptor mechanism in enhanced responsiveness. Increased membrane-bound PKC catalytic activity was found in serum-deprived neonatal SMC. This basal increase was equal to that stimulated by 1 nM PMA in adult SMC, a pretreatment that caused these cells to become as responsive to IGF-I as untreated neonatal ones. We conclude that neonatal bovine PA SMC have marked enhancement of growth capacity in vitro, the acquisition of which is dependent on time from birth and is associated with auto-activation of PKC, These increased growth properties detected in vitro may contribute to the striking hyperplasia of neonatal PA SMC found in vivo following hypoxic exposure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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