Prevention of vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and injury-induced neointimal hyperplasia by CREB-mediated p21 induction: An insight from a plant polyphenol

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Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)/protein kinase A (PKA)/cAMP response element (CRE)-binding protein (CREB) signaling cascade negatively regulates platelet-derived growth factor BB (PDGF-BB)-induced smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation, which is a critical event in the initiation and development of restenosis and atherosclerotic lesions. Salvianolic acid A (SAA) is one of the most abundant polyphenols extracted from salvia. The aim of this study is to investigate whether SAA exerts an action on PDGF-BB-induced proliferation via cAMP/PKA/CREB mechanism. SAA blunts PDGF-BB-induced human umbilical artery smooth muscle cell (hUASMC) proliferation via p21 induction, as evidenced by its increased mRNA and protein expression levels. The SAA-induced upregulation of p21 involves the cAMP/PKA signaling pathway; a cAMP analog mimicked the effects of SAA and a specific cAMP/PKA inhibitor opposed these effects. SAA also activated CREB, including phosphorylation at Ser133, and induced its nuclear translocation. Deletion and mutational analysis of p21 promoters, co-immunoprecipitation, and western blot analysis showed that CRE is essential for SAA-induced p21 protein expression. Transfection of dominant-negative CREB (mutated Ser133) plasmids into hUASMCs attenuated SAA-stimulated p21 expression. SAA upregulated p21 expression and activated CREB in the neointima of balloon-injured arteries in vivo. Our results indicate that SAA promotes p21 expression in SMCs through the cAMP/PKA/CREB signaling cascade in vitro and prevents injury-induced neointimal hyperplasia.

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