Sunitinib, a Small-Molecule Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor, Suppresses Neointimal Hyperplasia in Balloon-Injured Rat Carotid Artery

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The migration and proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) induced by growth factors play a critical role in in-stent stenosis after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). The present study tested the hypothesis that sunitinib malate (sunitinib), a tyrosine kinase inhibitor of multiple receptors for growth factors, can reduce neointimal formation after arterial injury in vivo and sought to reveal the underlying mechanism in vitro. Male Wistar rats with balloon-injured carotid arteries were administered either sunitinib or a vehicle orally for 2 weeks. Sunitinib significantly inhibited neointimal hyperplasia relative to control by reducing active cell proliferation. In cultured human aortic smooth muscle cells (HASMCs), sunitinib significantly inhibited platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-induced increases of DNA synthesis, cell proliferation, and migration relative to controls as evaluated by [3H] thymidine incorporation, cell number, and the Boyden chamber assay, respectively. Immunoblot analyses showed that sunitinib suppressed phosphorylation of PDGF-BB inducible extracellular signal-regulated kinase and autophosphor-ylation of PDGF β-receptor, which are the key signaling steps involved in HASMC activation. These results indicate that sunitinib inhibits neointimal formation after arterial injury by suppressing VSMC proliferation and migration presumably through inactivation of PDGF signaling. As such, it may be a potential therapeutic agent, which targets arterial restenosis after PCI.

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