Inhibition of smooth muscle cell proliferation by an antisense oligodeoxynucleotide targeting the messenger RNA encoding proliferating cell nuclear antigen.
BACKGROUND The process by which normally quiescent vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) change into proliferating cells, which express and respond to multiple growth factors, plays a major role in restenosis after coronary angioplasty. We are attempting to inhibit SMC proliferation by interventions that inhibit specific factors involved in signal transduction pathways leading to cell division. To date, all studies taking this approach have attempted to block the effects of mitogens acting on the cell surface. In contrast, we have focused on a strategy that bypasses cell surface-mediated events by directly inhibiting the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), an intranuclear protein that functions in a final common pathway shared by diverse mitogen-induced signals. In the present investigation, we determined whether antisense oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) complementary to the messenger RNA of PCNA will inhibit PCNA expression and thereby reduce SMC proliferation.
METHODS AND RESULTS When antisense ODNs (15- or 18-mer), modified to inhibit their degradation, are introduced into the medium of rat aortic SMCs in concentrations ranging from 10 to 100 microM, the 18-mer ODN, in a concentration-related manner, decreases SMC growth (as assessed by cell counting) by more than 50%. This effect persists for at least 9 days. An ODN with the same nucleotides but a scrambled sequence has little effect. Western blots and immunocytochemistry indicate that the antisense ODN reduces expression of PCNA protein.
CONCLUSIONS Our results demonstrate that an antisense ODN directed at the messenger RNA of PCNA decreases expression of the PCNA gene product and reduces SMC proliferation. In addition, these results provide an important impetus to initiating in vivo studies to determine the feasibility of antisense strategies in the prevention of coronary restenosis.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association