High glucose promotes vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation by upregulating proto-oncogene serine/threonine-protein kinase Pim-1 expression.

PMID 29179437


Serine/threonine kinase proviral integration site for Moloney murine leukemia virus 1 (Pim-1) plays an essential role in arterial wall cell proliferation and associated vascular diseases, including pulmonary arterial hypertension and aortic wall neointima formation. Here we tested a role of Pim-1 in high-glucose (HG)-mediated vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation. Pim-1 and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) expression levels in arterial samples from streptozotocin-induced hyperglycemia rats were increased, compared with their weak expression in normoglycemic groups. In cultured rat VSMCs, HG led to transient Pim-1 expression decline, followed by sustained expression increase at both transcriptional and translational levels. Immunoblot analysis demonstrated that HG increased the expression of the 33-kDa isoform of Pim-1, but at much less extent to its 44-kDa plasma membrane isoform. D-glucose at a concentration of 25 mmol/L showed highest activity in stimulating Pim-1 expression. Both Pim-1 inhibitor quercetagetin and STAT3 inhibitor stattic significantly attenuated HG-induced VSMC proliferation and arrested cell cycle progression at the G1 phase. Quercetagetin showed no effect on Pim-1 expression but decreased the phosphorylated-Bad (T112)/Bad ratio in HG-treated VSMCs. However, stattic decreased phosphorylated-STAT3 (Y705) levels and caused transcriptional and translational down-regulation of Pim-1 in HG-treated VSMCs. Our findings suggest HG-mediated Pim-1 expression contributes to VSMC proliferation, which may be partly due to the activation of STAT3/Pim-1 signaling.