Camptothecin inhibits platelet-derived growth factor-BB-induced proliferation of rat aortic vascular smooth muscle cells through inhibition of PI3K/Akt signaling pathway

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The abnormal proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) in arterial wall is a major cause of vascular disorders such as atherosclerosis and restenosis after angioplasty. In this study, we investigated not only the inhibitory effects of camptothecin (CPT) on PDGF-BB-induced VSMC proliferation, but also its molecular mechanism of this inhibition. CPT significantly inhibited proliferation with IC50 value of 0.58 μM and the DNA synthesis of PDGF-BB-stimulated VSMCs in a dose-dependent manner (0.5–2 μM ) without any cytotoxicity. CPT induced the cell cycle arrest at G0/G1 phase. Also, CPT decreased the expressions of G0/G1-specific regulatory proteins including cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)2, cyclin D1 and PCNA in PDGF-BB-stimulated VSMCs. Pre-incubation of VSMCs with CPT significantly inhibited PDGF-BB-induced Akt activation, whereas CPT did not affect PDGF-receptor beta phosphorylation, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 phosphorylation and phospholipase C (PLC)-γ1 phosphorylation in PDGF-BB signaling pathway. Our data showed that CPT pre-treatment inhibited VSMC proliferation, and that the inhibitory effect of CPT was enhanced by LY294002, a PI3K inhibitor, on PDGF-BB-induced VSMC proliferation. In addition, inhibiting the PI3K/Akt pathway by LY294002 significantly enhanced the suppression of PCNA expression and Akt activation by CPT. These results suggest that the anti-proliferative activity of CPT is mediated in part by downregulating the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.

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