Human Cell

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 242–250 | Cite as

Acetylshikonin attenuates angiotensin II-induced proliferation and motility of human brain smooth muscle cells by inhibiting Wnt/β-catenin signaling

  • Zequn Li
  • Zhiyuan Yan
  • Chunbo Xu
  • Yiqun Dong
  • Ye Xiong
  • Yongyue Dai
Research Article


Cerebrovascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and migration contribute to hyperplasia in case of cerebrovascular remodeling and stroke. In the present study, we investigated the effects of acetylshikonin, the main ingredient of a Chinese traditional medicine Zicao, on human brain vascular smooth muscle cell (HBVSMCs) proliferation and migration induced by angiotensin II (AngII), and the underlying mechanisms. We found that acetylshikonin treatment significantly inhibited AngII-induced HBVSMCs proliferation and cell cycle transition from G1 to S phase. Wound-healing assay and Transwell assay showed that AngII-induced cell migration and invasion were markedly attenuated by acetylshikonin. In addition, AngII challenge significantly induced Wnt/β-catenin signaling activation, as evidenced by increased β-catenin phosphorylation and nuclear translocation and GSK-3β phosphorylation. However, acetylshikonin treatment inhibited the activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Consequently, western blotting analysis revealed that acetylshikonin effectively reduced the expression of downstream target genes in AngII-treated cells, including c-myc, survivin and cyclin D1, which contributed to the inhibitory effect of acetylshikonin on HBVSMCs proliferation. Further, stimulation with recombinant Wnt3a dramatically reversed acetylshikonin-mediated inhibition of proliferation and cell cycle transition in HBVSMCs. Our study demonstrates that acetylshikonin prevents AngII-induced cerebrovascular smooth muscle cells proliferation and migration through inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin pathway, indicating that acetylshikonin may present a potential option for the treatment of cerebrovascular remodeling.


Cerebrovascular smooth muscle cells Proliferation Angiotensin II Acetylshikonin Wnt/β-catenin pathway 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Japan Human Cell Society and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zequn Li
    • 1
  • Zhiyuan Yan
    • 1
  • Chunbo Xu
    • 1
  • Yiqun Dong
    • 1
  • Ye Xiong
    • 1
  • Yongyue Dai
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Neurosurgery, First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical UniversityWenzhou Medical UniversityWenzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of PathophysiologyWenzhou Medical UniversityWenzhouChina

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