Altered regulation of smooth muscle cell proliferation and apoptosis in small arteries of spontaneously hypertensive rats
Díez J., Fortuño M.A., Zalba G., Etayo J.C., Fortuño A., Ravassa S., Beaumont J.
Vascular Pathophysiology Unit, School of Medicine, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.
It has been proposed that alterations of the balance between programmed cell death and cell replication might be involved in abnormalities of smooth muscle cell growth in arterial hypertension. This study was designed to analyse some regulators of apoptosis and proliferation in smooth muscle cells of small intra-myocardial arteries from the left ventricle of adult normotensive Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY) and adult spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR).
Therefore, we assessed the expression of the cytoplasmic proteins Bax and Bcl-2, respectively a promoter and an inhibitor of apoptosis, and the expression of cyclin A, a nuclear protein that induces proliferation of smooth muscle cells.
METHODS AND RESULTS
We measured the percentages of smooth muscle cells expressing these proteins using monoclonal antibodies and the avidin-biotin immunoperoxidase method. Compared with WKY, cells from SHR exhibited normal Bax expression, increased (P < 0.001) Bcl-2 expression and increased (P < 0.001) cyclin A expression. The ratio of Bax to Bcl-2, an index of cell susceptibility to apoptosis, was lower (P < 0.001) in SHR than in WKY. Systolic blood pressure was directly correlated (P < 0.01) with Bcl-2 and cyclin A in SHR.
These results suggest that apoptosis and proliferation of smooth muscle cells might be inhibited and stimulated, respectively, in small arteries of adult SHR. The imbalance between these two processes may account for abnormalities of smooth muscle cell growth in the arterial wall in genetic hypertension.
CITATION Eur Heart J. 1998 Jul;19 Suppl G:G29-33