The platelet-derived growth factor receptor/STAT3 signaling pathway regulates the phenotypic transition of corpus cavernosum smooth muscle in rats

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common clinical disease that is difficult to treat. We previously found that hypoxia modulates the phenotype of primary corpus cavernosum smooth muscle cells (CCSMCs) in rats, but the underlying molecular mechanism is still unknown. Platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR)-related signaling pathways are correlated with cell phenotypic transition, but research has been focused more on vascular smooth muscle and tracheal smooth muscle and less on CCSMCs. Here, we investigated the role of PDGFR-related signaling pathways in penile CCSMCs, which were successfully isolated from rats and cultured in vitro. PDGF-BB at 5, 10, or 20 ng/ml altered CCSMC morphology from the original elongated, spindle shape to a broader shape and promoted the synthetic phenotype and expression of the related proteins vimentin and collagen-I, while inhibiting the contractile phenotype and expression of the related proteins smooth muscle (SM) α-actin (α-SMA) and desmin. Inhibition of PDGFR activity via siRNA or the PDGFR inhibitor crenolanib inhibited vimentin and collagen-I expression, increased α-SMA and desmin expression, and considerably inhibited serine-threonine protein kinase (AKT) and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) phosphorylation. STAT3 knockdown promoted the contractile phenotype, inhibited vimentin and collagen-I expression, and increased α-SMA and desmin expression, whereas AKT knockdown did not affect phenotype-associated proteins. STAT3 overexpression in CCSMC cells weakened the suppressive effect of PDGFR inhibition on the morphology and phenotypic transformation induced by PDGF-BB. Through activation of the PDGFR/STAT3 signaling pathway, PDGF promoted the synthetic phenotype transition; thus, regulation of this pathway might contribute to ED therapy.

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S2730 Crenolanib (CP-868596) Crenolanib (CP-868596, ARO 002) is a potent and selective inhibitor of PDGFRα/β with Kd of 2.1 nM/3.2 nM in CHO cells, also potently inhibits FLT3, sensitive to D842V mutation not V561D mutation, >100-fold more selective for PDGFR than c-Kit, VEGFR-2, TIE-2, FGFR-2, EGFR, erbB2, and Src. Crenolanib helps to induce mitophagy. (51) (7)

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