Vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation is the major pathologic feature associated with chronic allograft nephropathy, and mycophenolic acid (MPA) inhibits VSMC proliferation. Since the role of inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH)-dependent de novo guanosine synthesis is limited in VSMCs, we examined the effects of MPA on platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-induced cellular ROS and mitogen-actived protein kinases (MAPK) activation in VSMCs. Primary cultured rat VSMCs were stimulated with PDGF-BB in the presence or absence of MPA. Cell proliferation was assessed by [3H]-thymidine incorporation, ROS by flow cytometry and MAPK activation by Western blot analysis. PDGF increased cell proliferation, cellular ROS and extracellular-regulated protein kinase (ERK) 1/2 and p38 MAPK activation by 3.4-, 1.6-, 3.3- and 3.9-fold, respectively. MPA at above 1 μM inhibited PDGF-induced cellular ROS and ERK 1/2 and p38 MAPK activation, as well as proliferation. Structurally different anti-oxidants and inhibitor of ERK or p38 MAPK blocked PDGF-induced proliferation. Anti-oxidants also inhibited ERK 1/2 and p38 MAPK activation. Exogenous guanosine partially recovered the inhibitory effect of MPA on VSMC proliferation. These results suggest that MPA may inhibit PDGF-induced VSMC proliferation partially through inhibiting cellular ROS, and subsequent ERK 1/2 and p38 MAPK activation in addition to inhibiting IMPDH.
- Mitogen-activated protein kinases
- Mycophenolic acid
- Reactive oxygen species
- Vascular smooth muscle cells