Differential expression of ribosomal L31, Zis, gas-5 and mitochondrial mRNAs following oxidant induction of proliferative vascular smooth muscle cell phenotypes


      Treatment of cultured vascular smooth muscle cells (vSMCs) with benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), a prooxidant present in the particulate phase of tobacco smoke, induces highly proliferative (i.e. atherogenic) phenotypes. Critical early target genes in vSMCs have been identified, but patterns of gene expression following repeated cycles of carcinogen treatment in vivo have yet to be evaluated. In the present study, male Sprague–Dawley rats (175–200 g) were given weekly injections of BaP (10 mg/kg) for 8 weeks to induce atherogenic phenotypes. At the end of this atherogenic regimen, vSMCs were established in serial culture and monitored for patterns of proliferative activity and gene expression. vSMCs isolated from BaP-treated animals (hence forth referred to as BaP cells) exhibited constitutively increased growth rates, and marked enhancement of proliferation in response to serum mitogens. Differential display polymerase chain reaction (DD-PCR) and Northern blot analyses revealed that mRNAs for ribosomal protein L31 and Zis genes were suppressed, while gas-5 and mitochondrial mRNAs were overexpressed in BaP cells relative to control mRNA populations. In situ hybridization experiments in vascular tissue confirmed these alterations in vivo. This is the first report linking expression of these genes to proliferative dysregulation during the course of experimentally-induced atherogenesis.


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