Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Cell Biology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

High glucose upregulates connective tissue growth factor expression in human vascular smooth muscle cells

Xiaojing Liu12, Fengming Luo3, Kejian Pan4, Wenchao Wu2 and Huaiqing Chen12*

Author affiliations

1 Institute of Biomedical Engineering, West China Center of Medical Sciences, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

2 Laboratory of Cardiovascular Diseases, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

3 Golden-Card Ward, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

4 Department of Biochemistry, Chengdu Medical College, Chengdu, China

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Cell Biology 2007, 8:1  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-8-1

Published: 16 January 2007



Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is a potent profibrotic factor, which is implicated in fibroblast proliferation, angiogenesis and extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis. It is a downstream mediator of some of the effects of transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) and is potentially induced by hyperglycemia in human renal mesangial cells. However, whether high glucose could induce the CTGF expression in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) remains unknown. Therefore, this study was designed to test whether high glucose could regulate CTGF expression in human VSMC. The effect of modulating CTGF expression on VSMC proliferation and migration was further investigated.


Expression of CTGF mRNA was up-regulated as early as 6 hours in cultured human VSMCs after exposed to high glucose condition, followed by ECM components (collagen type I and fibronectin) accumulation. The upregulation of CTGF mRNA appears to be TGFβ-dependent since anti-TGFβ antibody blocks the effect of high glucose on CTGF gene expression. A small interference RNA (siRNA) targeting CTGF mRNA (CTGF-siRNA) effectively suppressed CTGF up-regulation stimulated by high glucose up to 79% inhibition. As a consequence of decreased expression of CTGF gene, the deposition of ECM proteins in the VSMC was also declined. Moreover, CTGF-siRNA expressing vector partially inhibited the high glucose-induced VSMC proliferation and migration.


Our data suggest that in the development of macrovascular complications in diabetes, CTGF might be an important factor involved in the patho-physiological responses to high glucose in human VSMCs. In addition, the modulatory effects of CTGF-siRNA during this process suggest that specific targeting CTGF by RNA interference could be useful in preventing intimal hyperplasia in diabetic macrovascular complications.