Restenosis (or neointimal hyperplasia) remains a clinical limitation of percutaneous coronary angioplasty. Abnormal proliferation and migration of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) are known to be involved in the development of restenosis. The present study aimed to investigate the ability and molecular mechanisms of methyl protodioscin (1), a steroidal saponin isolated from the root of Dioscorea nipponica, to inhibit neointimal formation. Our study demonstrated that 1 markedly inhibited the growth and migration of VSMCs (A7r5 cells). A cytometric analysis suggested that 1 induced growth inhibition by arresting VSMCs at the G1 phase of the cell cycle. A rat carotid artery balloon injury model indicated that neointima formation of the balloon-injured vessel was markedly reduced after extravascular administration of 1. Compound 1 decreased the expression levels of ADAM15 (a disintegrin and metalloprotease 15) and its downstream signaling pathways in the VSMCs. Moreover, the expressions and activities of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-2 and MMP-9) were also suppressed by 1 in a concentration-dependent manner. Additionally, the molecular mechanisms appear to be mediated, in part, through the downregulation of ADAM15, FAK, ERK, and PI3K/Akt.
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