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Inhibitory Effect of a Glutamine Antagonist on Proliferation and Migration of VSMCs via Simultaneous Attenuation of Glycolysis and Oxidative Phosphorylation

Excessive proliferation and migration of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and restenosis. Glycolysis and glutaminolysis are increased in rapidly proliferating VSMCs to support their increased energy requirements and biomass production. Thus, it is essential to develop new pharmacological tools that regulate metabolic reprogramming in VSMCs for treatment of atherosclerosis. The effects of 6-diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine (DON), a glutamine antagonist, have been broadly investigated in highly proliferative cells; however, it is unclear whether DON inhibits proliferation of VSMCs and neointima formation. Here, we investigated the effects of DON on neointima formation in vivo as well as proliferation and migration of VSMCs in vitro. DON simultaneously inhibited FBS- or PDGF-stimulated glycolysis and glutaminolysis as well as mammalian target of rapamycin complex I activity in growth factor-stimulated VSMCs, and thereby suppressed their proliferation and migration. Furthermore, a DON-derived prodrug, named JHU-083, significantly attenuated carotid artery ligation-induced neointima formation in mice. Our results suggest that treatment with a glutamine antagonist is a promising approach to prevent progression of atherosclerosis and restenosis.

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