Role of FOXM1 in vascular smooth muscle cell survival and neointima formation following vascular injury

Sarah Franco, Amelia Stranz, Fiona Ljumani, Go Urabe, Mirnal Chaudhary, Danielle Stewart, Vijaya Satish Pilli, Matthew Kelly, Dai Yamanouchi, K. Craig Kent, Bo Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Accelerated smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation is the primary cause of intimal hyperplasia (IH) following vascular interventions. Forkhead Box M1 (FOXM1) is considered a proliferation-associated transcription factor. However, the presence and role of FOXM1 in IH following vascular injury have not been determined. Objective: We examined the expression of FOXM1 in balloon-injured rat carotid arteries and investigated the effect of FOXM1 inhibition in SMCs and on the development of IH. Methods and results: FOXM1 was detected by immunofluorescent staining in balloon-injured rat carotid arteries where we observed an upregulation at day 7, 14, and 28 compared to uninjured controls. Immunofluorescence staining revealed FOXM1 coincided with proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). FOXM1 was also detectable in human carotid plaque samples. Western blot showed an upregulation of FOXM1 protein in serum-stimulated SMCs. Inhibition of FOXM1 using siRNA or chemical inhibition led to the induction of apoptosis as measured by flow cytometry and western blot for cleaved caspase 3. Perturbations in survival signaling were measured by western blot following FOXM1 inhibition, which showed a decrease in phosphorylated AKT and β-catenin. The chemical inhibitor thiostrepton was delivered by intraperitoneal injection in rats that underwent balloon injury and led to reduced intimal thickening compared to DMSO controls. Conclusions: FOXM1 is an important molecular mediator of IH that contributes to the proliferation and survival of SMCs following vascular injury.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere04028
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Biological sciences
  • Cell biology
  • FOXM1
  • Intimal hyperplasia
  • Molecular biology
  • Pathology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Proliferation
  • Smooth muscle cell


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