There is a type of arteriosclerosis with remodeling of middle-size arteries in which intimal hyperplasia of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) plays the main role, and there are few macrophages, T lymphocytes, and foam cells. It is unknown whether apoptosis and the expression of Bax, an inducer of apoptosis, are increased according to the progression of this stype of human arteriosclerosis, which is different from so-called atherosclerosis. Bax heterodimerizes with Bcl-2, an inhibitor of apoptosis, and the ratio of Bax to Bcl-2 determines cellular apoptosis or survival. Thus, we investigated apoptosis and the expression of Bax, bax mRNA, and Bcl-2 in human arteriovenous (AV) fistulas used for hemodialysis, a representative of arteriosclerosis of the aforementioned type. The material was 20 radial arteries obtained from 20 patients with chronic renal failure undergoing AV shunt surgery. SMCs, macrophages, and T lymphocytes were immunohistochemically identified at the light microscopic (LM) level. Apoptosis was detected by in situ terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT)-mediated digoxigenin-dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) at both the LM and electron microscopic (EM) level. Cell proliferating activity was estimated by proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). Bax and Bcl-2 were detected by immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis. Expression of bax mRNA was detected by in situ hybridization. LM TUNEL-positive cells in both the intima and media were significantly increased according to the percent stenosis of the vessels. EM analysis revealed that ultrastructures of apoptotic SMCs were seen in both synthetic and contractile phenotypes. Their frequency of occurrence in the intima and media were greater in those vessels with >50% stenosis than in those with <50% stenosis (5.2±0.7% versus 1.0±0.7% versus 1.0±0.3% in the intima and 2.1±0.5% versus 0.2±0.1% in the media). The proportion of apoptotic SMCs with ruptured plasma membranes was greater than that of apoptotic SMCs with intact membranes in the intima of the former (4.1±0.6% versus 1.1±0.1%). Only those SMCs with apoptotic ultrastructures had TUNEL-positive nuclei with moderate or marked accumulation of immunogold particles at the EM level. However, ultrastructures of oncosis (primary necrosis) were not observed. Immunohistochemical analyses showed significantly positive correlations between percent stenosis of vessels and the percentage of either PCNA-positive intimal cells or Bax-positive areas in the intima and media. Bcl-2-positive cells were not observed in the intima but mainly in the outer media. The percentage of Bcl-2-positive medial cells was definitely decreased at an early stage after formation of the AV fistula but did not change according to the duration of hemodialysis or the progression of arteriosclerosis. Western blot analysis of Bax or Bcl-2 and in situ hybridization of bax mRNA confirmed the immunohistochemical data. Thus, regulation of cellularity in intimal hyperplasia of SMCs in human arteriosclerosis with remodeling is mediated by proliferation and apoptosis but not oncosis. The apoptosis is probably induced by an increase in the Bax to Bcl-2 ratio.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology|
|Publication status||Published - 09-1999|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine