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1.  Hypoxia stimulates the expression of macrophage migration inhibitory factor in human vascular smooth muscle cells via HIF-1α dependent pathway 
BMC Cell Biology  2010;11:66.
Background
Hypoxia plays an important role in vascular remodeling and directly affects vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) functions. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a well known proinflammatory factor, and recent evidence suggests an important role of MIF in the progression of atherosclerosis and restenosis. However, the potential link between hypoxia and MIF in VSMC has not been investigated. The current study was designed to test whether hypoxia could regulate MIF expression in human VSMC. The effect of modulating MIF expression on hypoxia-induced VSMC proliferation and migration was also investigated at the same time.
Results
Expression of MIF mRNA and protein was up-regulated as early as 2 hours in cultured human VSMCs after exposed to moderate hypoxia condition (3% O2). The up-regulation of MIF expression appears to be dependent on hypoxia-inducible transcription factor-1α(HIF-1α) since knockdown of HIF-1α inhibits the hypoxia induction of MIF gene and protein expression. The hypoxia induced expression of MIF was attenuated by antioxidant treatment as well as by inhibition of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). Under moderate hypoxia conditions (3% O2), both cell proliferation and cell migration were increased in VSMC cells. Blocking the MIF by specific small interference RNA to MIF (MIF-shRNA) resulted in the suppression of proliferation and migration of VSMCs.
Conclusion
Our results demonstrated that in VSMCs, hypoxia increased MIF gene expression and protein production. The hypoxia-induced HIF-1α activation, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and ERK activation might be involved in this response. Both MIF and HIF-1α mediated the hypoxia response of vascular smooth muscle cells, including cell migration and proliferation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2121-11-66
PMCID: PMC2931459  PMID: 20727156
2.  Angiotensin II upregulates the expression of placental growth factor in human vascular endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells 
BMC Cell Biology  2010;11:36.
Background
Atherosclerosis is now recognized as a chronic inflammatory disease. Angiotensin II (Ang II) is a critical factor in inflammatory responses, which promotes the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Placental growth factor (PlGF) is a member of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family cytokines and is associated with inflammatory progress of atherosclerosis. However, the potential link between PlGF and Ang II has not been investigated. In the current study, whether Ang II could regulate PlGF expression, and the effect of PlGF on cell proliferation, was investigated in human vascular endothelial cells (VECs) and smooth muscle cells (VSMCs).
Results
In growth-arrested human VECs and VSMCs, Ang II induced PlGF mRNA expression after 4 hour treatment, and peaked at 24 hours. 10-6 mol/L Ang II increased PlGF protein production after 8 hour treatment, and peaked at 24 hours. Stimulation with Ang II also induced mRNA expression of VEGF receptor-1 and -2(VEGFR-1 and -2) in these cells. The Ang II type I receptor (AT1R) antagonist blocked Ang II-induced PlGF gene expression and protein production. Several intracellular signals elicited by Ang II were involved in PlGF synthesis, including activation of protein kinase C, extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) and PI3-kinase. A neutralizing antibody against PlGF partially inhibited the Ang II-induced proliferation of VECs and VSMCs. However, this antibody showed little effect on the basal proliferation in these cells, whereas blocking antibody of VEGF could suppress both basal and Ang II-induced proliferation in VECs and VSMCs.
Conclusion
Our results showed for the first time that Ang II could induce the gene expression and protein production of PlGF in VECs and VSMCs, which might play an important role in the pathogenesis of vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2121-11-36
PMCID: PMC2885991  PMID: 20500895
3.  High glucose upregulates connective tissue growth factor expression in human vascular smooth muscle cells 
BMC Cell Biology  2007;8:1.
Background
Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is a potent profibrotic factor, which is implicated in fibroblast proliferation, angiogenesis and extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis. It is a downstream mediator of some of the effects of transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) and is potentially induced by hyperglycemia in human renal mesangial cells. However, whether high glucose could induce the CTGF expression in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) remains unknown. Therefore, this study was designed to test whether high glucose could regulate CTGF expression in human VSMC. The effect of modulating CTGF expression on VSMC proliferation and migration was further investigated.
Results
Expression of CTGF mRNA was up-regulated as early as 6 hours in cultured human VSMCs after exposed to high glucose condition, followed by ECM components (collagen type I and fibronectin) accumulation. The upregulation of CTGF mRNA appears to be TGFβ-dependent since anti-TGFβ antibody blocks the effect of high glucose on CTGF gene expression. A small interference RNA (siRNA) targeting CTGF mRNA (CTGF-siRNA) effectively suppressed CTGF up-regulation stimulated by high glucose up to 79% inhibition. As a consequence of decreased expression of CTGF gene, the deposition of ECM proteins in the VSMC was also declined. Moreover, CTGF-siRNA expressing vector partially inhibited the high glucose-induced VSMC proliferation and migration.
Conclusion
Our data suggest that in the development of macrovascular complications in diabetes, CTGF might be an important factor involved in the patho-physiological responses to high glucose in human VSMCs. In addition, the modulatory effects of CTGF-siRNA during this process suggest that specific targeting CTGF by RNA interference could be useful in preventing intimal hyperplasia in diabetic macrovascular complications.
doi:10.1186/1471-2121-8-1
PMCID: PMC1781444  PMID: 17224075

Results 1-3 (3)