Smooth muscle cells of injured rat and rabbit arteries in culture: contractile and cytoskeletal proteins

Anita C Thomas, J H Campbell

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

6 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study is to determine whether subpopulations of smooth muscle cells (SMC), as distinguished by variations in contractile and cytoskeletal proteins, appear in the neointima at different times after vascular injury, and/or whether subpopulations develop during serial passaging of these cells. Rat aortae and rabbit carotid arteries were injured with a 2F Fogarty balloon catheter and cultures established from the resulting neointima and the media 2, 6, 12, 16 and 24 weeks later. Cultures were examined at passages 1-5 and subpopulations of SMC categorised by intensity of staining for each protein by immunohistochemistry. Two populations of SMC with different staining intensities ('++', '+') were observed for each of the following proteins: alpha-SM actin, SM-myosin, desmin and vimentin. Populations without these proteins were also found. Changes in the percentages of cells expressing these proteins were transitory, indicating that the populations were not limited to a particular tissue (neointima or media), time after injury or passage number. One exception was found in rabbit cultures where the number of desmin-expressing cells quickly decreased with both time after injury and time in culture. Subpopulations of SMC were found at all times after injury in the media and neointima of rat and rabbit arteries, and after multiple passage of these cells. There was no pattern of development of one population suggesting that either no subpopulation has a proliferative or migratory advantage over others, or that only one population exists that is capable of diverse phenotypic changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-9
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2001


  • Actins
  • Animals
  • Aorta
  • Carotid Artery Injuries
  • Carotid Artery, Common
  • Cell Division
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Contractile Proteins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Desmin
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Male
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular
  • Myosins
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tunica Intima
  • Vimentin


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