© 2015 Park et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Interleukin-16 (IL-16) is a lymphocyte chemoattractant factor well known for its role in immune responses, but its role in vascular disease is unknown. Here, we explored the novel physiological function of IL-16 in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). The expression of IL-16 and its receptor CD4 was observed in VSMCs. Treatment with IL-16 enhanced the migration and invasion by VSMCs without altering the proliferative potential. IL-16 induced MMP-9 expression via the binding activity of transcription factors NF-κB, AP-1, and Sp-1 motifs in VSMCs. Among the relevant signaling pathways examined, only p38MAPK phosphorylation was significantly stimulated in IL-16-treated VSMCs. Treatment with p38MAPK inhibitor SB203580 prevented the IL-16-induced migration and invasion of VSMCs. SB203580 treatment inhibited the MMP-9 expression and activation of Sp-1 binding in IL-16-treated VSMCs, and siRNA knockdown of CD4 expression blocked the induction of migration, invasion, p38MAPK phosphorylation, MMP-9 expression, and Sp-1 binding activation stimulated by IL-16. The IL-16 induced cell-cycle-inhibitor p21WAF1 expression in VSMCs, but had no effect on the expression levels of other cell-cycle negative regulators. Finally, blockage of p21WAF1 function with specific siRNA abolished the IL-16- induced elevation of migration, invasion, p38MAPK phosphorylation, MMP-9 expression, and Sp-1 binding activation in VSMCs. Taken together, p21WAF1 was required for the induction of p38MAPK-mediated MMP-9 expression via activation of the Sp-1 binding motif, which led to migration and invasion of VSMCs interacting with IL-16/CD4. These results could provide that IL-16 is a new target in the treatment of vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and re-stenosis.
Park, S. L., Hwang, B., Lee, S. Y., Kim, W. T., Choi, Y. H., Chang, Y. C., … Moon, S. K. (2015). P21WAF1 is required for interleukin-16-induced migration and invasion of vascular smooth muscle cells via the p38MAPK/Sp-1/MMP-9 pathway. PLoS ONE, 10(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0142153