Inhibition of Rho-associated kinase results in suppression of neointimal formation of balloon-injured arteries

Naoki Sawada, Hiroshi Itoh, Koji Ueyama, Jun Yamashita, Kentaro Doi, Tae Hwa Chun, Mayumi Inoue, Ken Masatsugu, Takatoshi Saito, Yasutomo Fukunaga, Satsuki Sakaguchi, Hiroshi Arai, Nobuhisa Ohno, Masashi Komeda, Kazuwa Nakao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

186 Citations (Scopus)


Background - Rho-associated kinase (ROCK), an effector of small GTPase Rho, regulates vascular tone via a calcium sensitization mechanism and plays a key role in the pathogenesis of hypertension. However, its role in vascular growth remains unclear. Methods and Results - Y-27632, a specific ROCK inhibitor, and the overexpression of dominant-negative ROCK suppressed the mitogen-induced DNA synthesis of cultured vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), which indicates the essential role of ROCK in the control of VSMC proliferation in vitro. Y-27632 also suppressed the chemotaxis of VSMCs. Male Wistar rats were systemically given Y-27632 (35 to 70 mg · kg-1 · day- 1) through an intraperitoneal infusion. The neointimal formation of balloon- injured carotid arteries was significantly suppressed in Y-27632-treated rats (intima/media ratio, 0.22±0.02) compared with vehicle-treated rats (intima/media ratio, 0.92±0.21) or hydralazine-treated rats with a similar blood pressure decrease (intima/media ratio, 1.03±0.15). The phosphorylation of myosin phosphatase and myosin light chain was elevated in injured arteries in a Y-27632-sensitive manner, indicating the augmentation of ROCK activity in neointimal formation. The downregulation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27(kip1) in injured vessels was reversed by Y-27632 treatment, reflecting the antiproliferative effect of ROCK inhibition in vivo. Conclusions - We conclude that ROCK plays a key role in the process of neointimal formation after balloon injury. Thus, the inhibition of ROCK may be a potential therapeutic strategy for treating vascular proliferative disorders and hypertension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2030-2033
Number of pages4
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2000 May 2
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Hypertension
  • Muscle, smooth
  • Remodeling
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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