Calcineurin-mediated pathway involved in the differentiated phenotype of smooth muscle cells

Yasuyuki Ohkawa, Ken'ichiro Hayashi, Kenji Sobue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The calcineurin-mediated pathway is involved in skeletal and cardiac hypertrophy and vascular development in vivo, but the relationship between this pathway and the phenotype of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) remains unknown. Using visceral SMCs in culture as a model system of differentiated SMCs, we investigated the role of the calcineurin-mediated pathway in maintaining the differentiated phenotype of SMCs, which depends on the insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I)-triggered activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K)/protein kinase B (PKB(Akt)) pathway. Treatment with calcineurin inhibitors, cyclosporin A or FK506, or the forced expression of the natural calcineurin inhibitor, CAIN, induced SMC dedifferentiation. Notably, suppression of the promoter activities of the SMC molecular markers caldesmon and α1 integrin by blocking the PI3-K/PKB(Akt) pathway was rescued by the forced expression of constitutively active calcineurin Aα, suggesting that the calcineurin-mediated pathway is critical for maintaining the differentiated phenotype of SMCs and works downstream of the PI3-K/PKB(Akt) pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-83
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 31 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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