16 February 2006
Hyperlipemia and oxidized LDL (ox-LDL) are important independent cardiovascular risk factors. Ox-LDL has been shown to stimulate vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation. However, the effects of hyperlipemia and the molecular mechanisms mediating hyperlipemia and ox-LDL effects on VSMC growth are poorly understood. The helix-loop-helix (HLH) transcription factor, Id3, is a redox-sensitive gene expressed in VSMC in response to mitogen stimulation and vascular injury. Accordingly, we hypothesize that Id3 is an important mediator of ox-LDL and hyperlipemia-induced VSMC growth. Aortas harvested from hyperlipemic pigs demonstrated significantly more Id3 than normolipemic controls. Primary VSMC were stimulated with ox-LDL, native LDL, sera from hyperlipemic pigs, or normolipemic pigs. VSMC exposed to hyperlipemic sera demonstrated increased Id3 expression, VSMC growth and S-phase entry and decreased p21<sup>cip1</sup> expression and transcription. Cells stimulated with ox-LDL demonstrated similar findings of increased growth and Id3 expression and decreased p21<sup>cip1</sup> expression. Moreover, the effects of ox-LDL on growth were abolished in cells devoid of the Id3 gene. Results provide evidence that the HLH factor Id3 mediates the mitogenic effect of hyperlipemic sera and ox-LDL in VSMC via inhibition of p21<sup>cip1</sup> expression, subsequently increasing DNA synthesis and proliferation.