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

Expression and localization of tropoelastin mRNA in the developing bovine pulmonary artery is dependent on vascular cell phenotype.

During vascular development, the expression of tropoelastin ( TE) messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) has been shown to be time dependent and to form complex patterns along the longitudinal and radial arterial axes. The factors contributing to these patterns of TE expression are not known, but it has been suggested that they reflect phenotypic changes in developing smooth muscle cells (SMC). In order to examine a possible correlation between the developmental state of the SMC and TE expression during lung vascular development, we localized and assessed relative TE mRNA expression in the developing bovine main pulmonary artery (PA), and correlated the observed patterns of TE expression to changes in SMC phenotype as determined by the expression of various developmentally related SMC proteins. Further, because TE expression can be modulated by physical forces such as pressure, fetal PA TE expression was evaluated with regard to changes in fetal arterial pressure. We found that expression of TE mRNA exhibited a biphasic pattern during fetal development. In early gestation, expression was noted throughout the entire PA wall; at midgestation, expression was markedly decreased in the outer wall but maintained in the inner vascular media; at late gestation, reexpression was observed throughout the entire PA wall, albeit in a heterogeneous pattern. Immunohistochemical studies showed that the decrease in SMC TE expression during midgestation coincided with the acquisition of SMC-specific proteins such as smooth muscle myosin heavy chains and desmin. The reexpression of TE late in gestation occurred in these "differentiated" SMC and was temporally associated with a large increase in arterial pressure shown to occur in late gestation. In addition, we identified an SMC population defined by its immunoreactivity to the muscle-specific cytoskeletal protein meta-vinculin that did not express TE mRNA either during fetal PA development or postnatally when PA hypertension was induced. We conclude that both the developmental state of the SMC and hemodynamic forces correlate with the pattern of PA TE mRNA expression during pulmonary vascular development. Further, a subpopulation of SMC defined by meta-vinculin expression exists in the fetal and neonatal bovine vascular wall and does not express detectable levels of TE mRNA regardless of vascular pressure.[1]


  1. Expression and localization of tropoelastin mRNA in the developing bovine pulmonary artery is dependent on vascular cell phenotype. Durmowicz, A.G., Frid, M.G., Wohrley, J.D., Stenmark, K.R. Am. J. Respir. Cell Mol. Biol. (1996) [Pubmed]
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