Role of RhoA inactivation in reduced cell proliferation of human airway smooth muscle by simvastatin

Naoya Takeda, Masashi Kondo, Satoru Ito, Yasushi Ito, Kaoru Shimokata, Hiroaki Kume

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)


Enhanced proliferation of smooth muscle cells contributes to airway remodeling of bronchial asthma. Recently, statins, inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase, have been shown to inhibit proliferation of both vascular and airway smooth muscle cells independently of lowering cholesterol. However, the mechanisms remain to be elucidated. The purpose of this study was to determine molecular processes by which statins inhibit proliferation of human bronchial smooth muscle cells. Simvastatin (0.1-1.0 μM) significantly inhibited cell proliferation and DNA synthesis induced by FBS in a concentration-dependent manner. The inhibitory effects of simvastatin were antagonized by mevalonate and geranylgeranylpyrophosphate, whereas the effects were not affected by squalene and farnesylpyrophosphate. The antiproliferative effects of simvastatin were mimicked by GGTI-286, a geranylgeranyltransferase-I inhibitor, C3 exoenzyme, an inhibitor of Rho, and Y-27632, an inhibitor of Rho-kinase, a target protein of RhoA. Western blot analysis showed that the level of membrane localization of RhoA (active Rho) was markedly increased by FBS, and that the level of active RhoA increased by FBS was reduced by simvastatin. Moreover, the inhibitory effect of simvastatin on FBS-induced RhoA activation was also antagonized by geranylgeranylpyrophosphate, but not by farnesylpyrophosphate. Because these isoprenoids are required for prenylation of small G proteins RhoA and Ras, respectively, the present results demonstrate that an inhibition in airway smooth muscle cell proliferation by simvastatin is due to prevention of geranylgeranylation of RhoA, not farnesylation of Ras. Therefore, statins may have therapeutic potential for prohibiting airway remodeling in bronchial asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)722-729
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 12-2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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