Vigetti D, Rizzi M, Moretto P, Deleonibus S, Dreyfuss JM, Karousou E, Viola M, Clerici M, Hascall VC, Ramoni MF, De Luca G, Passi A. (2011) Glycosaminoglycans and glucose prevent apoptosis in 4-methylumbelliferone-treated human aortic smooth muscle cells. J Biol Chem. 286:34497-503. PMID: 21768115. PMCID: PMC3186361.
Smooth muscle cells (SMCs) have a pivotal role in cardiovascular diseases and are responsible for hyaluronan (HA) deposition in thickening vessel walls. HA regulates SMC proliferation, migration, and inflammation, which accelerates neointima formation. We used the HA synthesis inhibitor 4-methylumbelliferone (4-MU) to reduce HA production in human aortic SMCs and found a significant increase of apoptotic cells. Interestingly, the exogenous addition of HA together with 4-MU reduced apoptosis. A similar anti-apoptotic effect was observed also by adding other glycosaminoglycans and glucose to 4-MU-treated cells. Furthermore, the anti-apoptotic effect of HA was mediated by Toll-like receptor 4, CD44, and PI3K but not by ERK1/2.
Link to journal: http://www.jbc.org/