The effects of fractionated oxidized low density lipoproteins (oxidized LDL) on the growth of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) and their relationship to the formation of lysophosphatidylcholine (lyso-PC) as well as the activation of protein kinase C (PKC) were studied. VSMC were isolated from porcine aorta by explant culture. LDL was isolated from porcine blood by sequential ultracentrifugation and oxidized LDL was obtained by incubating LDL with 5 μMCuSO4 at 37 °C for various lengths of time. Our results showed that LDL oxidized for 12 h and eluted from fast protein liquid chromatography at 43 min inhibited the growth of VSMC, and that LDL oxidized for longer than 48 h and eluted at 48 min stimulated the growth of VSMC. The formation of lyso-PC in the oxidized LDL correlated well with its stimulatory effect, suggesting that lyso-PC is responsible for the mitogenic effect of oxidized LDL. This stimulatory effect of oxidized LDL was inhibited by staurosporine, a PKC inhibitor. Treatment with oxidized LDL increased the activity of membrane PKC, but it decreased that of cytosolic PKC, suggesting the translocation of PKC from cytosol to the membrane in the presence of oxidized LDL. These results suggested that the oxidized LDL-stimulated VSMC growth was mediated by the formation of lyso-PC and the activation of PKC.
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