Proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) contributes to the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, and glycated serum albumin (GSA, Amadori adduct of albumin) might be a mitogen for VSMC proliferation, which may further be associated with diabetic vascular complications. In this study, we investigated the involvement of mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MAPK/ERK), and protein kinase C (PKC), in GSA-stimulated mitogenesis, as well as the functional relationship between these factors. VSMC stimulation with GSA resulted in a marked activation of ERK. The MAPK kinase (MEK) inhibitor, PD98059, blocked GSA-stimulated MAPK activation and resulted in an inhibition of GSA-stimulated VSMC proliferation. GSA also increased PKC activity in VSMC in a dose-dependent manner. The inhibition of PKC by the PKC inhibitors, GF109203X and Rottlerin (PKCdelta specific inhibitor), as well as PKC downregulation by phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), inhibited GSA-induced cell proliferation and blocked ERK activation. This indicates that phorbol ester-sensitive PKC isoforms including PKCdelta are involved in MAPK activation. Thus, we show that the MAPK cascade is required for GSA-induced proliferation, and that phorbol ester-sensitive PKC isoforms contribute to cell activation and proliferation in GSA-stimulated VSMC.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.