Neuregulin-1 Attenuates Neointimal Formation following Vascular Injury and Inhibits the Proliferation of Vascular Smooth Muscle CellsClement C.M.a · Thomas L.K.b · Mou Y.b · Croslan D.R.a · Gibbons G.H.b · Ford B.D.a
aDepartment of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Neuroscience Institute, and bDepartment of Medicine, Cardiovascular Research Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga., USA
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Neuregulin-1 (NRG-1) is expressed in vascular endothelial cells, and its receptors are localized to the underlying smooth muscle cells. However, the role of NRG-1 in vascular function and injury is largely unknown. First, the expression of NRG-1 and its receptors (erbB receptors) was analyzed after balloon injury to the rat carotid artery. NRG-1 and erbB expression levels were low in uninjured vessels; however, NRG-1 and erbB4 were upregulated following injury. We then examined the effect of NRG-1 on neointimal formation following balloon injury. NRG-1 was administered by tail-vein injection prior to injury and every 2 days following injury. Two weeks after injury, NRG-1-treated animals demonstrated a 50% reduction in lesion size compared with controls receiving the vehicle. To examine possible mechanisms for NRG-1 action, we examined its effects on vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) function. Rat VSMC cultures were pretreated with NRG-1 for 24 h and then stimulated with platelet-derived growth factor. NRG-1 significantly decreased platelet-derived growth factor-stimulated VSMC proliferation and migration. These findings suggest that NRG-1 may be a novel therapeutic candidate for the treatment of restenosis and atherosclerosis.
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