The GSK-3/beta-catenin-signalling axis in smooth muscle and its relationship with remodelling

Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2008 Aug;378(2):185-91. doi: 10.1007/s00210-008-0269-8. Epub 2008 Jul 9.


beta-Catenin is a plasma membrane-associated protein that plays a dual role in cellular signalling by stabilizing cadherin mediated cell-cell contact and by regulating TCF-/LEF-mediated gene transcription. Traditionally, the role of beta-catenin in health and disease has mainly been studied in the context of development and uncontrolled cell growth in diseases such as cancer. Recent findings indicate, however, that beta-catenin also plays a significant role in fibro-proliferative diseases of several organ systems and that beta-catenin regulates mitogenic responses of smooth muscle cells. As several diseases of the internal organs are characterized by structural and phenotypic abnormalities of smooth muscle, including increased fibro-proliferative responses, these findings implicate that beta-catenin could play a broad pathophysiological role. This article will review this potential novel role for beta-catenin and associated intracellular signalling in smooth muscle and discuss the hypothesis that it plays a central role in smooth muscle remodelling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Fibrosis
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 / metabolism*
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Muscle, Smooth / enzymology*
  • Muscle, Smooth / pathology
  • Signal Transduction*
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • Cadherins
  • beta Catenin
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3