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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Remodeling of the vascular tunica media is essential for development of collateral vessels in the canine heart.

Previous studies have shown that neointima formation and adventitial remodeling play an important role in the enlargement of collateral vessels (CVs) during coronary arteriogenesis in the dog heart. In this study, we investigated the importance of remodeling of the tunica media in the same model. Basal membrane (BM), contractile and cytoskeletal components of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) were studied in growth of coronary CVs induced by chronic occlusion of the left circumflex (LCX) coronary artery by routine histology, electron microscopy (EM), and immunoconfocal microscopy using antibodies against alpha-smooth actin (alpha-SM actin), calponin, desmin, and laminin. In addition, matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and tissue inhibitor-1 of matrix metalloproteinase (TIMP-1) were investigated. The data showed that (1) in normal small arteries (NVs) laminin formed a network in which SMCs were encaged; alpha-SM actin, calponin and desmin were evenly expressed in SMCs; (2) in early (2 weeks) growing CVs the laminin network was disrupted, desmin was significantly reduced in SMCs, but alpha-SM actin and calponin still highly expressed; (3) in actively (6 weeks) growing CVs laminin was still weak in the tunica media (TM), but without network-like structure. Desmin was further reduced in SMCs of TM, whereas alpha-SM actin and calponin showed little changes, although they were significantly decreased in intimal SMCs; (4) in mature CVs, the network-like structure was re-formed, and alpha-SM actin, calponin, and desmin were all similar to that in normal vessels; (5) histology for BM confirmed laminin staining; (6) EM revealed that in NVs the SMCs contained abundant contractile filaments and were surrounded by a layer of BM whereas in growing CVs, BM structure was not observed, but the SMCs in the media still contained many myofilaments; (7) MMP-2 was highly expressed in the media of early growing vessels, but decreased in TM of actively growing vessels where TIMP-1 expression was high. In conclusion, our data revealed features of TM of growing CVs. Disruption and degradation of BM facilitate SMC proliferation, and together with reduction of desmin and fragmentation of the internal elastic lamina enable the vascular wall to expand and enlarge when blood pressure and shear stress increase. MMP2 may be an important player in regulating SMC phenotype, proliferation, migration and maintaining integrity of the vascular wall through governing proteolysis during arteriogenesis.[1]


  1. Remodeling of the vascular tunica media is essential for development of collateral vessels in the canine heart. Cai, W.J., Kocsis, E., Wu, X., Rodríguez, M., Luo, X., Schaper, W., Schaper, J. Mol. Cell. Biochem. (2004) [Pubmed]
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