Keeping Cells in Their Places

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Science  10 Jan 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5604, pp. 169
DOI: 10.1126/science.299.5604.169b

Vascular proliferative diseases, such as atherosclerosis and coronary restenosis, are characterized by dedifferentiation, abnormal proliferation, and migration of vascular smooth muscle cells, a pathophysiological reaction to injury that has been interpreted as a response to cytokines released by inflammatory cells. By comparing vascular smooth muscle cells from mice lacking elastin to cells from wild-type mice, Karnik et al. show that the extracellular matrix protein elastin, which is secreted by vascular smooth cells, inhibited cell proliferation and promoted the development of actin stress fibers, a marker for a mature contractile phenotype. Vascular smooth muscle cells migrated through a filter in response to an elastin concentration gradient, but elastin inhibited cellular migration in response to a platelet-derived growth factor gradient. In an in vivo porcine model of coronary artery stenosis, insertion of an elastin sheath into arteries after vascular injury reduced the pathophysiological response, suggesting the possibility that elastin's effects on vascular smooth muscle could be exploited in therapy to treat vascular proliferative diseases. — EA

Development130, 411 (2002).

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