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Glukhova MA, Kabakov AE, Frid MG, Ornatsky OI, Belkin AM, Mukhin DN, Orekhov AN, Koteliansky VE, Smirnov VN
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1988 Dec 85:24 9542-6


Vinculin- and caldesmon-immunoreactive forms and actin isoform patterns were studied in samples of normal and atherosclerotic human aorta. After removal of adventitia and endothelium, the remaining tissue was divided into three layers: media, muscular-elastic (adjacent to media) intima, and subendothelial (juxtaluminal) intima. In media of normal aorta, meta-vinculin accounted for 41.0 +/- 0.9% (mean +/- SEM) of total immunoreactive vinculin (meta-vinculin + vinculin); 150-kDa caldesmon accounted for 78.2 +/- 5.1% of immunoreactive caldesmon (150-kDa + 70-kDa); the fractional contents of alpha-smooth muscle actin, beta-nonmuscle, and gamma-isoactins were 49.0 +/- 0.6%, 30.4 +/- 0.6%, and 20.8 +/- 0.8%, respectively. Muscular-elastic intima was very similar to media by these criteria. In subendothelial intima, the fractional content of meta-vinculin and 150-kDa caldesmon was significantly lower (6.9 +/- 1.5% and 32.7 +/- 7.0%, respectively) than in muscular-elastic intima and media, whereas the isoactin pattern was identical to that in adjacent layers, demonstrating the smooth muscle origin of subendothelial intima cells. In atherosclerotic fibrous plaque, the fractional content of alpha-actin was decreased in subendothelial intima, rather than in media and muscular-elastic intima. Additionally, the proportion of subendothelial intima cells [i.e., the cells that express low amounts of smooth muscle phenotype markers (meta-vinculin, 150-kDa caldesmon, and alpha-actin)] in the total intima cell population increased dramatically in atherosclerotic fibrous plaque. The results suggest that changes in the relative content of meta-vinculin and 150-kDa caldesmon as well as alpha-actin in human aortic intima are associated with atherosclerosis although, in subendothelial intima of normal aorta, a certain smooth muscle cell population exists that expresses reduced amounts of ''contractile'' phenotype markers, even in the absence of the disease.