The Journal of biological chemistry

Regulation of vascular smooth muscle proliferation by heparin: inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase 2 activity by p27(kip1).

PMID 15731113


Uncontrolled proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) contribute to intimal hyperplasia during atherosclerosis and restenosis. Heparin is an antiproliferative agent for VSMCs and has been shown to block VSMC proliferation both in tissue culture systems and in animals. Despite the well documented antiproliferative actions of heparin, its cellular targets largely remain unknown. In an effort to characterize the mechanism of the antiproliferative property of heparin, we have analyzed the effect of heparin on cell cycle in VSMC. Our results indicate that the heparin-induced block in G(1) to S phase transition is imposed by p27(kip1)-mediated inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase 2 activity. Further analysis of p27(kip1) mRNA levels showed that the increase in p27(kip1) protein levels in heparin-treated VSMC occurs at posttranscriptional levels. We present evidence that heparin causes stabilization of p27(kip1) protein during G(1) phase and thereby prevents activation of cyclin-dependent kinase 2.