Interleukin-18-induced human coronary artery smooth muscle cell migration is dependent on NF-kappaB- and AP-1-mediated matrix metalloproteinase-9 expression and is inhibited by atorvastatin

J Biol Chem. 2006 Jun 2;281(22):15099-109. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M600200200. Epub 2006 Mar 22.


The proliferation and migration of arterial smooth muscle cells (SMCs) are key events in the vascular restenosis that frequently follows angioplasty. Furthermore, SMC migration and neointimal hyperplasia are promoted by degradation of the extracellular matrix by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Because we demonstrated previously that the proinflammatory and proatherogenic cytokine interleukin-18 (IL-18) stimulates SMC proliferation (Chandrasekar, B., Mummidi, S., Valente, A. J., Patel, D. N., Bailey, S. R., Freeman, G. L., Hatano, M., Tokuhisa, T., and Jensen, L. E. (2005) J. Biol. Chem. 280, 26263-26277), we investigated whether IL-18 induces SMC migration in an MMP-dependent manner and whether the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitor atorvastatin can inhibit this response. IL-18 treatment increased both mRNA and protein expression of MMP9 in human coronary artery SMCs. Gel shift, enzyme-linked immunosorbent, and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays revealed a strong induction of IL-18-mediated AP-1 (c-Fos, c-Jun, and Fra-1) and NF-kappaB (p50 and p65) activation and stimulation of MMP9 promoter-dependent reporter gene activity in an AP-1- and NF-kappaB-dependent manner. Ectopic expression of p65, c-Fos, c-Jun, and Fra-1 induced MMP9 promoter activity. Specific antisense or small interfering RNA reagents for these transcription factors reduced IL-18-mediated MMP9 transcription. Furthermore, IL-18 stimulated SMC migration in an MMP9-dependent manner. Atorvastatin effectively suppressed IL-18-mediated AP-1 and NF-kappaB activation, MMP9 expression, and SMC migration. Together, our results indicate for the first time that the proatherogenic cytokine IL-18 induces human coronary artery SMC migration in an MMP9-dependent manner. Atorvastatin inhibits IL-18-mediated aortic SMC migration and has therapeutic potential for attenuating the progression of atherosclerosis and restenosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control
  • Atorvastatin
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coronary Vessels / cytology
  • Coronary Vessels / drug effects*
  • Coronary Vessels / metabolism*
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Heptanoic Acids / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-18 / pharmacology*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / genetics*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / metabolism*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Pyrroles / pharmacology
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / metabolism*


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Heptanoic Acids
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Interleukin-18
  • NF-kappa B
  • Pyrroles
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • Atorvastatin
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9