Janus Kinase 3, a Novel Regulator for Smooth Muscle Proliferation and Vascular Remodeling

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Abstract

Objective—

Vascular remodeling because of smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation is a common process occurring in several vascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis, aortic aneurysm, post-transplant vasculopathy, restenosis after angioplasty, etc. The molecular mechanism underlying SMC proliferation, however, is not completely understood. The objective of this study is to determine the role and mechanism of Janus kinase 3 (JAK3) in vascular remodeling and SMC proliferation.

Approach and Results—

Platelet-derived growth factor-BB, an SMC mitogen, induces JAK3 expression and phosphorylation while stimulating SMC proliferation. Janex-1, a specific inhibitor of JAK3, or knockdown of JAK3 by short hairpin RNA, inhibits the SMC proliferation. Conversely, ectopic expression of JAK3 promotes SMC proliferation. Mechanistically, JAK3 promotes the phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase in SMC, 2 signaling pathways known to be critical for SMC proliferation and vascular remodeling. Blockade of these 2 signaling pathways by their inhibitors impeded the JAK3-mediated SMC proliferation. In vivo, knockdown of JAK3 attenuates injury-induced neointima formation with attenuated neointimal SMC proliferation. Knockdown of JAK3 also induces neointimal SMC apoptosis in rat carotid artery balloon injury model.

Conclusions—

Our results demonstrate that JAK3 mediates SMC proliferation and survival during injury-induced vascular remodeling, which provides a potential therapeutic target for preventing neointimal hyperplasia in proliferative vascular diseases.

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