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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 756426, 8 pages
Research Article

Effect of PGC-1α on Proliferation, Migration, and Transdifferentiation of Rat Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells Induced by High Glucose

Jiangsu Diabetes Center, State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, 22 Hankou Road, Nanjing 210093, China

Received 15 April 2011; Revised 4 November 2011; Accepted 8 November 2011

Academic Editor: Kazim Husain

Copyright © 2012 Xiaoqiang Qi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We assessed the role of PGC-1α (PPARγ coactivator-1 alpha) in glucose-induced proliferation, migration, and inflammatory gene expression of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). We carried out phagocytosis studies to assess the role of PGC-1α in transdifferentiation of VSMCs by flow cytometry. We found that high glucose stimulated proliferation, migration and inflammatory gene expression of VSMCs, but overexpression of PGC-1α attenuated the effects of glucose. In addition, overexpression of PGC-1α decreased mRNA and protein level of VSMCs-related genes, and induced macrophage-related gene expression, as well as phagocytosis of VSMCs. Therefore, PGC-1α inhibited glucose-induced proliferation, migration and inflammatory gene expression of VSMCs, which are key features in the pathology of atherosclerosis. More importantly, PGC-1α transdifferentiated VSMCs to a macrophage-like state. Such transdifferentiation possibly increased the portion of VSMCs-derived foam cells in the plaque and favored plaque stability.