Chemerin promotes the proliferation and migration of vascular smooth muscle and increases mouse blood pressure

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2015 Sep;309(5):H1017-28. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00820.2014. Epub 2015 Aug 7.


Blood chemerin concentration shows positive correlation not only with body mass index and serum triglyceride level but also with systolic blood pressure. While it seems likely that chemerin influences vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation and migration, which are crucial to the development of hypertension, this remains to be clarified. In the present study, we investigated whether chemerin controls SMC proliferation and migration in vitro and also affects blood pressure in vivo. In vitro, chemerin significantly stimulated rat mesenteric arterial SMC proliferation and migration, as determined by a cell counting assay and Boyden chamber assay, respectively. The migratory effect of chemerin was confirmed in human aortic SMCs. Chemerin significantly increased ROS production in SMCs and phosphorylation of Akt (Ser(473)) and ERK, as measured by fluorescent staining and Western blot analysis, respectively. Various inhibitors (ROS inhibitor: N-acetyl-l-cysteine, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor: LY-294002, MAPKK inhibitor: PD-98059, NADPH oxidase inhibitor: gp91 ds-tat, and xanthine oxidase inhibitor: allopurinol) as well as chemokine-like receptor 1 small interfering RNA significantly inhibited chemerin-induced SMC proliferation and migration. Furthermore, chemerin-neutralizing antibody prevented carotid neointimal hyperplasia in the mouse ligation model. In vivo, chronic chemerin treatment (6 μg/kg, 6 wk) increased systolic blood pressure as well as phosphorylation of Akt and ERK in the mouse isolated aorta. In summary, we, for the first time, demonstrate that chemerin/chemokine-like receptor 1 stimulates SMC proliferation and migration via ROS-dependent phosphorylation of Akt/ERK, which may lead to vascular structural remodeling and an increase in systolic blood pressure.

Keywords: adipokine; reactive oxygen species; vascular biology; vascular remodeling; vascular smooth muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arteries / drug effects
  • Arteries / metabolism
  • Arteries / physiopathology
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Cell Movement*
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokines / pharmacology*
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / drug effects
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism


  • Chemokines
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • RARRES2 protein, human
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • chemerin protein, mouse
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases