Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.374, No.4, 731-736, 2008
Statins activate GATA-6 and induce differentiated vascular smooth muscle cells
The beneficial effects of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins) beyond cholesterol lowering involve their direct actions on vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). However, the effects of statins on phenotypic modulation of VSMCs are unknown. We herein show that simvastatin (Sm) and atorvastatin (At) inhibited DNA synthesis in human aortic VSMCs dose-dependently, while cell toxicity was not observed below the concentration of 1 mu M of Sm or 100 nM of At. Stimulating proliferative VSMCs with Sm or At induced the expression of SM-alpha-actin and SM-MHC, highly specific markets of differentiated phenotype. Sm up-regulated the binding activity of GATA-6 to SM-MHC GATA site and activated the transfected SM-MHC promoter in proliferative VSMCs, while mutating the GATA-6 binding site abolished this activation. Geranylgeranylpyrophosphate (10 mu M), an inhibitor of Rho family proteins, abolished the statin-mediated induction of the differentiated phenotype in VSMCs. These findings suggest that statins activate GATA-6 and induce differentiated VSMCs. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.