Hyperglycemia Enhances IGF-I–Stimulated Src Activation via Increasing Nox4-Derived Reactive Oxygen Species in a PKCζ-Dependent Manner in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells

  1. David R. Clemmons
  1. Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  1. Corresponding author: David R. Clemmons, david_clemmons{at}


IGF-I–stimulated sarcoma viral oncogene (Src) activation during hyperglycemia is required for propagating downstream signaling. The aim of the current study was to determine the mechanism by which hyperglycemia enhances IGF-I–stimulated Src activation and the role of NADPH oxidase 4 (Nox4) and protein kinase C ζ (PKCζ) in mediating this response in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). Nox4 expression was analyzed in VSMCs exposed to hyperglycemia. The role of Nox4-derived reactive oxygen species (ROS) in IGF-I–stimulated Src activation was investigated via knockdown of Nox4. Different isoforms of PKC were screened to investigate their role in hyperglycemia-induced Nox4. The oxidation of Src was shown to be a prerequisite for its activation in response to IGF-I during hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia induced Nox4, but not Nox1, and p22 phagocyte oxidase (p22phox) expression and IGF-I stimulated Nox4/p22phox complex formation, leading to increased ROS generation. Knockdown of Nox4 prevented ROS generation and impaired the oxidation and activation of Src in response to IGF-I, whereas knockdown of Nox1 had no effect. PKCζ was shown to mediate the hyperglycemia-induced increase in Nox4 expression. The key observations in cultured VSMCs were confirmed in the diabetic mice. Nox4-derived ROS is responsible for the enhancing effect of hyperglycemia on IGF-I–stimulated Src activation, which in turn amplifies IGF-I–linked downstream signaling and biological actions.


  • Received July 18, 2011.
  • Accepted October 23, 2011.

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