A newly synthesized Ligustrazine stilbene derivative inhibits PDGF-BB induced vascular smooth muscle cell phenotypic switch and proliferation via delaying cell cycle progression

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Vascular Smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) possess remarkable phenotype plasticity that allows it to rapidly adapt to fluctuating environmental cues, including the period of development and progression of vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and restenosis subsequent to vein grafting or coronary intervention. Although VSMC phenotypic switch is an attractive target, there is no effective drug so far. Using rat aortic VSMCs, we investigate the effects of Ligustrazine and its synthetic derivatives on platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB) induced proliferation and phenotypic switch by a cell image-based screening of 60 Ligustrazine stilbene derivatives. We showed that one of the Ligustrazine stilbene derivatives TMP-C4a markedly inhibited PDGF-BB-induced VSMCs proliferation in a time and dose-dependent manner, which is more potent than Ligustrazine. Stimulation of contractile VSMCs with PDGF-BB significantly reduced the contractile marker protein α-smooth muscle actin expression and increased the synthetic marker proteins osteopontin expression. However, TMP-C4a effectively reversed this phenotypic switch, which was accompanied by a decreased expression of Matrix metalloproteinase 2 and 9 (MMP2 and MMP9) and cell cycle related proteins, including cyclin D1 and CDK4. In conclusion, the present study showed that a new Ligustrazine stilbene derivative TMP-C4a suppressed PDGF-induced VSMC proliferation and phenotypic switch, indicating that it has a potential to become a promising therapeutic agent for treating VSMC-related atherosclerosis and restenosis.

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