2016 Volume 29 Issue 2 Pages 131-138
The aim of this study was to examine the possible involvement of smooth muscle cell remodeling and the induction of MFG-E8 (milk fat globule protein epidermal growth factor-VIII) in vascular pathophysiology during cocaine administration in cultured cells and rats. Cocaine exerts bifurcate effects on vascular cells; it stimulates vasoconstriction through enhancement of catecholamine release at low doses, while it suppresses cardiovascular functions through inhibition of ion channels at high doses. Short-term exposure to a high concentration of cocaine (3 mM, 24 hr) resulted in cell death of A7r5 rat aorta-derived smooth muscle cells. On the other hand, long-term exposure of the same cells to a low concentration (0.3 mM, ~7 days) resulted in a transient increase in MFG-E8 expression followed by an increased tendency toward cyclin D1, PCNA (proliferating cell nuclear antigen), and CDK4 (cyclin-dependent protein kinase-4) expression. Interestingly, autophagy was not induced, but rather was impaired, in cocaine-treated cells. Increased expressions of MFG-E8, PCNA, and CDK4 were also observed in the aortic vascular cells of rats administered cocaine (50 mg/kg, 2 days, i.v.), confirming that cocaine induced MFG-E8 expression in vivo. Taken together, the results show that MFG-E8 is induced in vascular cells exposed to cocaine, and that this induction is likely to be involved in the vascular toxicity elicited by cocaine abuse.