Author(s): Gennaro G, Mnard C, Giasson E, Michaud SE, Palasis M,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: Age-dependent increase in vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation is thought to contribute to the pathology of atherosclerotic diseases. In this study, we investigated the role of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) on VSMC proliferation and neointimal formation in the context of aging. METHODS AND RESULTS: VSMCs were isolated from the aorta of young and old rabbits. The proliferative index after serum stimulation was significantly increased in old versus young VSMCs. This was associated with a significant and specific age-dependent increase in p44/p42 MAPK activation. Treatment with MEK inhibitor PD98059 successfully inhibited p44/p42 MAPK activities and VSMC proliferation. These results were confirmed in vivo using a model of balloon injury in rabbit iliac arteries. p44/p42 MAPK activities were rapidly induced by angioplasty in young and old animals. However, the levels of p44/p42 MAPK activities achieved in arteries of old rabbits were significantly higher than those of young rabbits. This was associated with a higher cellular proliferative index and a significant increase in neointimal formation in old animals. Local delivery of PD98059 in old rabbits successfully inhibited p44/p42 MAPK activities after angioplasty, which led to a significant reduction in cellular proliferation and neointimal formation in treated animals. CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests for the first time that increased p44/p42 MAPK activation contributes to augmented VSMC proliferation and neointimal formation with aging. p44/p42 MAPK inhibition could represent a novel therapeutic avenue against atherosclerotic diseases.
This article was published in Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research