The aim of this study was to elucidate the effects of anti-hypertensive drugs, nifedipine, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, captopril, and atenolol on DNA synthesis and proliferation of cultured rat aortic smooth muscle cells induced by fetal calf serum. Aortic smooth muscle cells from Sprague-Dawley rats were isolated, cultured, and seeded in multi-well plates. When confluent, cells were cultured in a conditioned medium without fetal calf serum. After 72 hours, cells were cultured in the medium retaining 10% fetal calf serum with or without anti-hypertensive drugs by increasing the concentration between 10-8 and 10-4M. DNA synthesis was assessed by [3H]-thymidine uptake and proliferation by cell numbers using a hemocytometer. Nifedipine at a concentration of 10-5M and 5 x 10-5M inhibited serum-induced DNA synthesis significantly by 50.8% and 86.6%, respectively (p <0.05). The results of cell numbers paralleled those of 3H- thymidine incorporation. Serum-induced DNA synthesis was also reduced by 32.6% at the highest dose of furosemide (10-4M), but there was no statistical significance. Hydrochlorothiazide, captopril, and atenolol did not show anti-proliferative effect throughout any of the doses. In conclusion, among the various anti-hypertensive drugs, nifedipine seems to be most beneficial in view of its direct inhibitory effect on DNA synthesis and proliferation of smooth muscle cells, as well as for its anti-hypertensive effect.
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