Ras-mek-erk signaling regulates Nf1 heterozygous neointima formation

Brian K. Stansfield, Waylan K. Bessler, Raghuveer Mali, Julie A. Mund, Brandon D. Downing, Reuben Kapur, David A. Ingram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) results from mutations in the NF1 tumor-suppressor gene, which encodes neurofibromin, a negative regulator of diverse Ras signaling cascades. Arterial stenosis is a nonneoplastic manifestation of NF1 that predisposes some patients to debilitating morbidity and sudden death. Recent murine studies demonstrate that Nf1 heterozygosity (Nf1+/-) in monocytes/macrophages significantly enhances intimal proliferation after arterial injury. However, the downstream Ras effector pathway responsible for this phenotype is unknown. Based on in vitro assays demonstrating enhanced extracellular signal-related kinase (Erk) signaling in Nf1+/- macrophages and vascular smooth muscle cells and in vivo evidence of Erk amplification without alteration of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling in Nf1+/- neointimas, we tested the hypothesis that Ras-Erk signaling regulates intimal proliferation in a murine model of NF1 arterial stenosis. By using a well-established in vivo model of inflammatory cell migration and standard cell culture, neurofibromin-deficient macrophages demonstrate enhanced sensitivity to growth factor stimulation in vivo and in vitro, which is significantly diminished in the presence of PD0325901, a specific inhibitor of Ras-Erk signaling in phase 2 clinical trials for cancer. After carotid artery injury, Nf1+/- mice demonstrated increased intimal proliferation compared with wild-type mice. Daily administration of PD0325901 significantly reduced Nf1+/- neointima formation to levels of wild-type mice. These studies identify the Ras-Erk pathway in neurofibromin-deficient macrophages as the aberrant pathway responsible for enhanced neointima formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-85
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Ras-mek-erk signaling regulates Nf1 heterozygous neointima formation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this