Contractile and cytoskeletal proteins of smooth muscle cells in rat, rabbit, and human arteries

A C Thomas, J H Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to determine whether similar populations of smooth muscle cells, in relation to contractile and cytoskeletal proteins, are present in normal and diseased human coronary arteries and normal and injured rat and rabbit arteries. Rat aortae and rabbit carotid arteries were de-endothelialised and the resulting neointimal thickening examined at set time points 2-24 weeks later. Immunohistochemistry revealed that arteries had three distinct populations of cells in respect to alpha-smooth muscle actin, smooth muscle myosin heavy chain and vimentin (staining intensities '-', '+' or '++' for each protein), but only two populations in respect to desmin ('-' and '+'). The different populations of cells were found in the neointima at all times after injury, in human atherosclerotic plaque and in the media of diseased, injured and uninjured vessels, although in different proportions. It was concluded that arteries of the human, rat and rabbit have cells with a wide spectrum of contractile and cytoskeletal proteins. Expression of the different proteins did not reflect the state of the artery after injury or during the disease process, and was not associated with the expansion of a subset of cells within the artery wall.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-56
Number of pages8
JournalTissue and Cell
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2000


  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Aorta
  • Arteries
  • Carotid Artery Injuries
  • Catheterization
  • Contractile Proteins
  • Coronary Disease
  • Coronary Vessels
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Humans
  • Macrophages
  • Male
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • T-Lymphocytes

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