Notch1 has been implicated in asthma pathogenesis. However, the function of Notch1 in regulating airway smooth muscle (ASM) cell proliferation and migration during airway remodeling of asthma remains unknown. Using an in vitro model induced by tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, we reported in this study that Notch1 participated in TNF-α-induced proliferation and migration of ASM cells. Our results demonstrated that Notch1 expression was significantly upregulated in ASM cells exposed to TNF-α. Notch1 inhibition significantly repressed TNF-α-induced ASM cell proliferation and migration, while Notch1 overexpression promoted the opposite effect. Moreover, Notch1 inhibition downregulated the expression of Notch-1 intracellular domain (NICD) and Hes1, while upregulated PTEN expression in TNF-α-exposed cells. Notably, Hes1 overexpression partially reversed the Notch1-inhibition-mediated inhibitory effect on TNF-α-induced ASM cell proliferation and migration. In addition, the promoting effect of Notch1 inhibition on PTEN expression was markedly abrogated by Hes1 overexpression. Overall, these findings demonstrated that Notch1 inhibition repressed TNF-α-induced ASM cell proliferation and migration by modulating the Hes1/PTEN signaling axis, a finding that highlights the involvement of Notch1/Hes1/PTEN in regulating airway remodeling of asthma.
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