Serum starvation and growth factor receptor expression in vascular smooth muscle cells

Oliver Zimmermann, Thomas P. Zwaka, Nikolaus Marx, Michael Torzewski, Andrea Bucher, Peter Guilliard, Andreas Hannekum, Vinzenz Hombach, Jan Torzewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation in atherosclerosis is regulated through the interaction of growth factors like platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and their receptors (R). We hypothesized that serum starvation of SMCs may affect PDGFβ-R and IGF-1-R expression and, consequently, the effect of their cognate ligands on SMC survival/proliferation. Methods and Results: Serum starvation significantly increases PDGFβ-R but not IGF-1-R mRNA and protein expression in SMCs. PDGF-BB stimulates cell survival but not proliferation in serum-starved SMCs of the synthetic phenotype, whereas SMCs of the contractile phenotype respond to PDGF-BB by a significant increase in proliferation. Immunohistochemical analysis of coronary atherosclerotic lesions reveals PDGFβ-R expression in SMCs in the lamina fibromuscularis, but not in the media and in healthy parts of the arterial wall. No such differential expression was observed for IGF-1-R. Conclusions: Differential regulation of PDGFβ-R and IGF-1-R expression by serum starvation might represent a mechanism for the control of SMC survival/proliferation in atherogenesis and restenosis. The distribution of PDGFβ-Rs and IGF-1-Rs in atherosclerotic lesions may indicate an effect of serum starvation on SMCs in the arterial wall.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-165
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Vascular Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherogenesis
  • IGF-1 receptor
  • PDGFβ receptor
  • Serum starvation
  • Smooth muscle cells


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