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Vol. 43, No. 4, 2006
Issue release date: July 2006
Section title: Research Paper
J Vasc Res 2006;43:338–346

Different Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Apoptosis in the Human Internal Mammary Artery and the Saphenous Vein

Implications for Bypass Graft Disease

Frischknecht K.a, b · Greutert H.a, b · Weisshaupt C.a, b · Kaspar M.a-c · Yang Z.d · Lüscher T.F.a-c · Carrel T.P.e · Tanner F.C.a-c
aCardiovascular Research, Physiology Institute, and bCenter for Integrative Human Physiology, University of Zürich, cCardiology, Cardiovascular Center, University Hospital of Zürich, Zürich, dDepartment of Medicine, Division of Physiology, University Fribourg, Fribourg, and eClinic for Cardiovascular Surgery, University Hospital of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
email Corresponding Author

Dr. Felix C. Tanner

Cardiovascular Research, Physiology Institute, University of Zürich

Winterthurerstrasse 190

CH–8057 Zürich (Switzerland)

Tel. +41 44 635 64 69, Fax +41 44 635 68 27, E-Mail

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Background: The remarkable patency of internal mammary artery (MA) grafts compared to saphenous vein (SV) grafts has been related to different biological properties of the two blood vessels. We examined whether proliferation and apoptosis of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) from human coronary artery bypass vessels differ according to patency rates. Methods and Results: Proliferation rates to serum or platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB were lower in VSMC from MA than SV. Surface expression of PDGF β-receptor was slightly lower, while that of α-receptor was slightly higher in MA than SV. Cell cycle distribution, expression of cyclin E, cdk2, p21, p27, p57, and cdk2 kinase activity were identical in PDGF-BB-stimulated cells from MA and SV. However, apoptosis rates were higher in MA than SV determined by lactate dehydrogenase release, DNA fragmentation, and Hoechst 33258 staining. Moreover, caspase inhibitors (Z-VAD-fmk, Boc-D-fmk) abrogated the different proliferation rates of VSMC from MA versus SV. Western blotting and GSK3-β kinase assay revealed lower Akt activity in VSMC from MA versus SV, while total Akt expression was identical. Adenoviral transduction of a constitutively active Akt mutant abrogated the different proliferation rates of VSMC from MA versus SV. Conclusions: Higher apoptosis rates due to lower Akt activity rather than different cell cycle regulation account for the lower proliferation of VSMC from MA as compared to SV. VSMC apoptosis may protect MA from bypass graft disease.

© 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Research Paper

Received: 7/14/2005
Accepted: 3/13/2006
Published online: 7/28/2006

Number of Print Pages: 9
Number of Figures: 4
Number of Tables: 1

ISSN: 1018-1172 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0135 (Online)

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