Induction of vascular SMC proliferation by urokinase indicates a novel mechanism of action in vasoproliferative disorders
Kanse, S M × Benzakour, O Kanthou, C Kost, C Lijnen, Roger Preissner, K T #
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology vol:17 issue:11 pages:2848-54
The urokinase-type plasminogen activator (UPA) and its receptor are expressed in the vasculature and are involved in cell migration and remodeling of the extracellular matrix in the neointima. Vessels with atherosclerosis or neointimal hyperplasia, when compared with normal vessels, contain high UPA activity as well as increased levels of UPA receptor. In this study, we have identified the stimulation of vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation as a novel activity for UPA in the vessel wall. High-molecular-weight-UPA (12-200 nmol/L range) stimulated DNA synthesis and cell proliferation, which was half that induced by fetal calf serum or by platelet-derived growth factor-BB. UPA did not induce growth of endothelial cells, and tissue-type plasminogen activator showed no activity on either cell type. Induction of proliferation required the complete UPA molecule but was independent of the proteolytic activity of UPA, whereas neither the amino-terminal fragment nor the catalytic domain by itself was mitogenic. UPA also stimulated c-fos/c-myc mRNA expression and mitogen-activated protein kinase activity in smooth muscle cells. Blocking monoclonal antibodies against the UPA receptor and the enzymatic removal of receptors were ineffective in inhibiting the mitogenic effect of UPA, suggesting a UPA receptor-independent mechanism. Thus, we provide evidence for a novel function of UPA on vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation that, together with its previously documented involvement in regulating pericellular proteolysis-related events and cell migration, provides additional evidence for a role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis/restenosis.