Effects of amlodipine on gene expression and extracellular matrix formation in human vascular smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts: implications for vascular protection

Int J Cardiol. 1997 Dec 31;62 Suppl 2:S31-7. doi: 10.1016/s0167-5273(97)00239-8.


Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) are involved in the pathogenesis of hypertension and coronary artery disease. Amlodipine, a calcium channel blocker of the dihydropyridine type, is widely used in the therapy of these diseases, and has been shown to reduce the progression of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms, such as atherosclerosis and restenosis. Research on the impact of calcium channel blockers on cell behavior has revealed an antiproliferative effect on VSMC. Cell proliferation is tightly controlled by permanent interaction of cells with their surrounding microenvironment, the extracellular matrix (ECM). The ECM is subjected to a continuous turnover and implicated in (i) stabilization and compartmentalization of tissue architecture and (ii) local binding and preservation of growth factors and cytokines. These growth factors and cytokines can be released during degradation of the ECM, and can function as local inflammatory factors without de novo synthesis. In this context, we assessed the effects of amlodipine on the composition of the ECM and related factors. We investigated the effects of amlodipine on (i) the regulation of cellular cholesterol metabolism, (ii) the activation of genes encoding for inflammatory factors, (iii) gene expression and turnover of ECM compounds, and (iv) the activity of matrix-degrading enzymes. Most of these effects of calcium channel blockers require direct induction of gene expression. In this respect, we demonstrate that amlodipine increases expression of the cytokine interleukin-6 by directly activating the respective gene promoter in human VSMC.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amlodipine / pharmacology*
  • Amlodipine / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Arteriosclerosis / metabolism
  • Arteriosclerosis / pathology
  • Arteriosclerosis / prevention & control
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / pharmacology*
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism*
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / drug effects
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Gene Expression*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / metabolism


  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Interleukin-6
  • Amlodipine
  • Cholesterol