Endothelial NO synthase deficiency promotes smooth muscle progenitor cells in association with upregulation of stromal cell-derived factor-1α in a mouse model of carotid artery ligation

Le Ning Zhang, Dennis W Wilson, Valdeci Da Cunha, Mark E. Sullivan, Ronald Vergona, John C Rutledge, Yi Xin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background - Endothelial NO deficiency (endothelial NO synthase [eNOS]-knockout [KO]) enhanced smooth muscle cell (SMC)-rich neointimal lesion formation in a mouse model of carotid artery ligation (CAL). Recent evidence indicated that stromal cell-derived factor-1α (SDF-1α)-mediated recruitment of circulating SMC progenitor cells substantially contributed to the SMC-rich neointimal hyperplasia induced by vascular injury. The goal of this study was to investigate the effects of eNOS deficiency on the expression of SDF-1α and mobilization of circulating SMC progenitor cells in CAL model. Methods and Results - Two- to 3-month-old C57BL/6J wild-type (WT) and eNOS-KO mice were evaluated 1, 2, or 4 weeks after CAL. CAL-induced expression of SDF-1α, as detected by immunohistochemical staining and further quantified by ELISA in the ligated carotid arteries, was moderate and transient with a peak at 1 week in WT mice. SDF-1α expression was significantly higher at 1 week and persisted through 2 weeks in eNOS-KO mice. CAL was associated with increased circulating stem cell antigen-1+ (Sca-1+)/c-Kit -/Lin- cells (interpreted as SMC progenitor cells), which peaked at 1 week in WT mice. This effect was also significantly greater and longer-lasting in eNOS-KO than WT mice. The number of circulating Sca-1 +/c-Kit-/Lin- cells was positively correlated with the expression of SDF-1α but not vascular endothelial growth factor in the ligated carotid arteries. Furthermore, immunostaining showed abundant Sca-1-positive cells in the adventitia of the 1-week ligated carotid arteries from eNOS-KO mice but not in WT mice. We also determined that eNOS deficiency enhanced CAL-induced intimal cell proliferation in the ligated arteries as detected by proliferating cell nuclear antigen staining but did not induce cell apoptosis as detected by staining for active caspase-3. Conclusion - Our results indicate that eNOS deficiency exacerbates CAL-induced expression of SDF-1α and its receptor CXCR4. This is correlated with an increase in Sca-1+ cells in peripheral blood and adventitia, which may contribute to vascular remodeling and SMC-rich neointimal lesion formation. This suggests that constitutive eNOS inhibits SDF-1α expression and provides an important vasculoprotective mechanism for intact endothelium to limit SMC proliferation and recruitment in response to vascular injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-772
Number of pages8
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2006

Keywords

  • cNOS knockout mice
  • Neointima
  • Progenitor cell
  • Smooth muscle cell
  • Stromal cell-derived factor-1α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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