Intimal hyperplasia of autologous vein grafts is a critical problem affecting the long-term patency of many types of vascular reconstruction. Within intimal hyperplasia lesions, smooth muscle cells are a major component, playing an essential role in the pathological process. Given that bone marrow-derived cells may differentiate into smooth muscle cells in the neointima of injured arteries, we hypothesized that the bone marrow may serve as a source for some of the smooth muscle cells within intimal hyperplasia lesions of vein grafts. To test this hypothesis, we used an established mouse model for intimal hyperplasia in wild-type mice that had been transplanted with bone marrow from a green fluorescent protein (GFP+/+) transgenic mouse. High-resolution confocal microscopy analysis performed 2 and 8 weeks after grafting demonstrated expression of GFP in 5.4 ± 0.8% and 11.9 ± 2.3%, respectively, of smooth muscle cells within intimal hyperplasia lesions. By 16 weeks, GFP expression in smooth muscle cells was not detected by immunohistochemistry; however, real-time PCR revealed that 20.2 ± 1.7% of the smooth muscle cells captured from the neointima lesion by laser capture microdissection at 16 weeks contained GFP DNA. Our results suggest that bone marrow-derived cells differentiated into smooth muscle cells within the intimal lesion and may provide a novel clinical approach for decreasing intimal hyperplasia in vein grafts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine