Smad protein and TGF-beta signaling in vascular smooth muscle cells

Hirofumi Ikedo, Kiyoshi Tamaki, Seiji Ueda, Seiya Kato, Makiko Fujii, Peter Ten Dijke, Seiya Okuda
International Journal of Molecular Medicine 2003, 11 (5): 645-50
Transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) plays a role in vascular remodeling by stimulating vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) growth and matrix-protein synthesis at sites of vascular injury. Smad proteins have been shown to mediate intracellular signaling of this growth factor. We investigated the expression and phosphorylation of Smads in cultured rat aortic smooth muscle cells. In addition, we evaluated the effects of overexpression of Smad proteins on TGF-beta signal transduction by adenovirus-mediated gene transfer. In rat SMC, Smad1, Smad2, Smad3, Smad4 and Smad5 were detected by immunoprecipitation. Using antisera against phosphorylated Smad2, we showed that TGF-beta1-induced Smad2 phosphorylation in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. Using adenovirus-mediated transfection method, we demonstrated that overexpression of Smad2 or Smad4 was associated with an increased production of TGF-beta1-induced plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1). However, the most prominent expression of PAI-1 was observed upon cotransfection of both Smad2 and Smad4. Both the proliferative effect of TGF-beta1 under serum-free conditions and its anti-proliferative effect under serum-rich conditions were suppressed by the adenovirus-mediated overexpression of Smad7. These results indicated that Smads proteins were expressed in vascular SMC and that they mediated TGF-beta signaling in those cells.

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