Platelet-derived growth factor stimulates heme oxygenase-1 gene expression and carbon monoxide production in vascular smooth muscle cells
Recent studies indicate that vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) generate CO from the degradation of heme by the enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). Because platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) modulates various responses of VSMCs, we examined whether this peptide regulates the expression of HO-1 and the production of CO by rat aortic SMCs. Treatment of SMCs with PDGF resulted in a time- and concentration-dependent increase in the levels of HO-1 mRNA and protein. Both actinomycin D and cycloheximide blocked PDGF-stimulated HO-1 mRNA and protein. In addition, PDGF stimulated the production of reactive oxygen species by SMCs. Both the PDGF-mediated generation of reactive oxygen species and the induction of HO-1 protein was inhibited by the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine. Incubation of platelets with PDGF-treated SMCs resulted in a significant increase in platelet cGMP concentration that was reversed by treatment of SMCs with the HO-1 inhibitor tin protoporphyrin-IX or by addition of the CO scavenger hemoglobin to platelets. In contrast, the nitric oxide inhibitor methyl-L-arginine did not block the stimulatory effect of PDGF-treated SMCs on platelet cGMP. Finally, incubation of SMCs with the releasate from collagen-activated platelets induced HO-1 protein expression that was blocked by a neutralizing antibody to PDGF. These results demonstrate that either administered exogenously or released by platelets, PDGF stimulates HO-1 gene expression and CO synthesis in vascular smooth muscle. The ability of PDGF to induce HO-1-catalyzed CO release by VSMCs may represent a novel mechanism by which this growth factor regulates vascular cell and platelet function.