The aims of the present study were to examine the effect of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation on airway smooth muscle cells (ASMCs) proliferation and to address its potential mechanisms. Platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) activated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (Akt)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway, and this in turn up-regulated S-phase kinase-associated protein 2 (Skp2) and consequently reduced cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor 1B (p27) leading to ASMCs proliferation. Pre-incubation of cells with metformin, an AMPK activator, blocked PDGF-induced activation of mTOR and its downstream targets changes of Skp2 and p27 without changing Akt phosphorylation and inhibited ASMCs proliferation. Transfection of ASMCs with AMPK α2-specific small interfering RNA (siRNA) reversed the effect of metformin on mTOR phosphorylation, Skp2 and p27 protein expression and cell proliferation. Our study suggests that activation of AMPK, particularly AMPK α2, negatively regulates mTOR activity to suppress ASMCs proliferation and therefore has a potential value in the prevention and treatment of asthma by negatively modulating airway remodeling.
- Airway smooth muscle cells
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