Abstract

A new quantitative assay for studying the kinetics of vascular smooth muscle cells in vivo is reported. The assay was used to determine the specific activity of DNA from rabbit aortic smooth muscle cells stimulated to grow by removal of the endothelial layer. The specific activity of the DNA was correlated with the rate of tritiated thymidine incorporation as measured by autoradiography and with the rate of DNA synthesis as estimated by direct measurement of cellular proliferation. Smooth muscle cells exhibit a 24-hour latent period in vivo prior to DNA synthesis; the synthesis peaks at 48 hours and then rapidly declines. The decline in DNA synthesis is not related to endothelial regrowth, and may be of homeostatic significance in limiting luminal stenosis. The assay offers a rapid and reliable alternative to autoradiographic and morphometric techniques for evaluating growth kinetics and growth regulation in vivo.

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