Expression of constitutively active cGMP-dependent protein kinase inhibits glucose-induced vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation

Shuxia Wang, Yanzhang Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Previously, we have demonstrated that cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) activity is downregulated in vessels from diabetic animals or in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) exposed to high-glucose conditions, contributing to diabetes-associated vessel dysfunction. However, whether decreased PKG activity plays a role in hyperglycemia-induced proliferation of VSMCs is unknown. In this report, high-glucose-mediated decreased PKG activity in VSMCs was restored by transfection of cells with expression vector for the catalytic domain of PKG-I (PKG-CD, constitutive active PKG). The effect of glucose on cell proliferation was determined. Our data demonstrated that high glucose exposure stimulated VSMC proliferation and G1 to S phase progression of the cell cycle, which was inhibited by restoration of PKG activity. Expression of constitutively active PKG inhibited G1 phase exit in VSMCs under high glucose conditions, which was accompanied by an inhibition of retinoblastoma protein (Rb) phosphorylation (a key switch for G1 to S phase cell cycle progression). Glucose-induced cyclin E expression and cyclin E-cyclin-dependent kinase 2 activity was also reduced by expression of PKG-CD in VSMCs. Moreover, expression of PKG-CD suppressed glucose-induced p27 degradation. These data demonstrate that restoring the high-glucose-mediated decrease in PKG activity in VSMCs inhibits glucose-induced abnormal VSMC proliferation occurring upstream of Rb phosphorylation. Our work provides the first direct evidence linking decreased PKG activity to high glucose-induced proliferation and cell cycle progression in VSMCs, suggesting that strategies to increase PKG activity might be useful in preventing abnormal VSMC proliferation in diabetic patients and might provide treatments for diabetes-associated proliferative vascular diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H2075-H2083
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Cell cycle
  • Cell proliferation
  • Glucose
  • Guanosine 5′-cyclic monophosphate-dependent protein kinase
  • Vascular smooth muscle cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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