smooth muscle cells

Up-regulation of intracellular signalling pathways may play a central pathogenic role in hypertension, atherogenesis, insulin resistance, and cancer promotion--the 'PKC syndrome'


The modern diet is greatly different from that of our paleolithic forebears' in a number of respects. There is reason to believe that many of these dietary shifts can up-regulate intracellular signalling pathways mediated by free intracellular calcium and protein kinase C, particularly in vascular smooth muscle cells; this disorder of intracellular regulation is given the name 'PKC syndrome'. PKC syndrome may entail either a constitutive activation of these pathways, or a sensitization to activation by various agonists. The modern dietary perturbations which tend to induce PKC syndrome may include increased dietary fat and sodium, and decreased intakes of omega-3 fats, potassium, calcium, magnesium and chromium. Insulin resistancemay be both a cause and effect of PKC syndrome, and weight reduction and aerobic training should act to combat this disorder. PKC syndrome sensitizes vascular smooth muscle cells to both vasoconstrictors and growth factors, and thus promotes both hypertension and atherogenesis. In platelets, it induces hyperaggregability, while in the microvasculature it may be a mediator of diabetic microangiopathy. In vascular endothelium, intimal macrophages, and hepatocytes, increased protein kinase C activity can be expected to increase cardiovascular risk. Up-regulation of protein kinase C in stem cells may also play a role in the promotion of 'Western' fat-related cancers. Practical guidelines for combatting PKC syndrome are suggested."


Dietary oxidized fatty acids: an atherogenic risk?


"Previous studies have suggested that heated fat that contains oxidized fatty acids in the diet might contribute to the presence of oxidized components in circulating lipoproteins. On the other hand, studies in our laboratory showed that cultured cells such as smooth muscle cells take up oxidized fatty acids poorly. Because intestinal cells are morphologically quite distinct, we studied the uptake of oxidized linoleic acid by Caco-2 and smooth muscle cells (control). When 16-day-old Caco-2 cells were incubated with oxidized linoleic acid (ox-linoleic acid), its uptake was comparable to that of unoxidized linoleic acid (unox-linoleic acid) or that of oleic acid (40–58, 70, and 55%, respectively). In contrast, the uptake of ox-linoleate by smooth muscle cells was about 3%. To determine whether the brush border structure of Caco-2 cells was responsible for increased uptake of oxidized fatty acids, we compared uptake in 4- and 16-day-old cells. The uptake of unox-linoleate and oleic acid (18:1) was comparable for the 4- and 16-day cells. In addition, saturation and competition experiments showed that the uptake of ox-linoleate by Caco-2 cells is not saturable even at 150 μMand that this uptake is diluted in the presence of unox-linoleate. In esterification experiments utilizing rat intestinal microsomes, we show that both ox- and unox-linoleate are esterified equally well. In summary, dietary oxidized fatty acids can be absorbed by the intestine and incorporated into lipoproteins and could potentially impose an oxidative stress and exacerbate atherogenesis."