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Changes in the balance of phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B (Akt) and the mitogen-activated protein kinases (ERK/p38MAPK) determine a phenotype of visceral and vascular smooth muscle cells.

ABSTRACT: The molecular mechanisms behind phenotypic modulation of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) remain unclear. In our recent paper, we reported the establishment of novel culture system of gizzard SMCs (Hayashi, K., H. Saga, Y. Chimori, K. Kimura, Y. Yamanaka, and K. Sobue. 1998. J. Biol. Chem. 273: 28860-28867), in which insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) was the most potent for maintaining the differentiated SMC phenotype, and IGF-I triggered the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3-K) and protein kinase B (PKB(Akt)) pathway. Here, we investigated the signaling pathways involved in de-differentiation of gizzard SMCs induced by PDGF-BB, bFGF, and EGF. In contrast to the IGF-I-triggered pathway, PDGF-BB, bFGF, and EGF coordinately activated ERK and p38MAPK pathways. Further, the forced expression of active forms of MEK1 and MKK6, which are the upstream kinases of ERK and p38MAPK, respectively, induced de-differentiation even when SMCs were stimulated with IGF-I. Among three growth factors, PDGF-BB only triggered the PI3-K/PKB(Akt) pathway in addition to the ERK and p38MAPK pathways. When the ERK and p38MAPK pathways were simultaneously blocked by their specific inhibitors or an active form of either PI3-K or PKB(Akt) was transfected, PDGF-BB in turn initiated to maintain the differentiated SMC phenotype. We applied these findings to vascular SMCs, and demonstrated the possibility that the same signaling pathways might be involved in regulating the vascular SMC phenotype. These results suggest that changes in the balance between the PI3-K/PKB(Akt) pathway and the ERK and p38MAPK pathways would determine phenotypes of visceral and vascular SMCs. We further reported that SMCs cotransfected with active forms of MEK1 and MKK6 secreted a nondialyzable, heat-labile protein factor(s) which induced de-differentiation of surrounding normal SMCs.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC2133182 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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