Inhibition of vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, migration, and survival by the tumor suppressor protein PTEN.
Phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase signaling regulates numerous cellular processes, including proliferation, migration, and survival, which are required for neointimal hyperplasia and restenosis. The effectors of PI 3-kinase are activated by the phospholipid products of PI 3-kinase. In this report, we investigated the hypothesis that overexpression of the tumor suppressor protein PTEN, an inositol phosphatase specific for the products of PI 3-kinase, would inhibit the vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) responses necessary for neointimal hyperplasia and restenosis. Effects of PTEN were assessed in primary rabbit VSMCs after overexpression with a recombinant adenovirus and compared with uninfected or control virus-infected cells. PTEN was expressed endogenously in VSMCs, and PTEN overexpression inhibited PDGF-induced phosphorylation of p70(s6k), Akt, and glycogen synthase kinase-3-alpha and -beta but not ERK1 or -2. Overexpression of PTEN significantly inhibited both basal and PDGF-mediated VSMC proliferation and migration, the latter possibly due in part to downregulation of focal adhesion kinase. Moreover, PTEN overexpression induced cleavage of caspase-3 and significantly increased apoptosis compared with control cells. Taken together, these results demonstrate that PTEN overexpression potently inhibits the VSMC responses required for neointimal hyperplasia and restenosis. Adenovirus-expressed PTEN may therefore provide a useful tool for the local treatment of these and other vascular proliferative disorders.
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