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Title

Cultured aortic smooth muscle cells from newborn and adult rats show distinct cytoskeletal features

Authors
Gabbiani, F.
Published in Differentiation. 1992, vol. 49, no. 3, p. 175-185
Abstract It is well known that arterial smooth muscle cells (SMC) of adult rats, cultured in a medium containing fetal calf serum (FCS), replicate actively and lose the expression of differentiation markers, such as desmin, smooth muscle (SM) myosin and alpha-SM actin. We report here that compared to freshly isolated cells, primary cultures of SMC from newborn animals show no change in the number of alpha-SM actin containing cells and a less important decrease in the number of desmin and SM myosin containing cells than that seen in primary cultures of SMC from adult animals; moreover, contrary to what is seen in SMC cultured from adult animals, they show an increase of alpha-SM actin mRNA level, alpha-SM actin synthesis and expression per cell. These features are partially maintained at the 5th passage, when the cytoskeletal equipment of adult SMC has further evolved toward dedifferentiation. Cloned newborn rat SMC continue to express alpha-SM actin, desmin and SM myosin at the 5th passage. Thus, newborn SMC maintain, at least in part, the potential to express differentiated features in culture. Heparin has been proposed to control proliferation and differentiation of arterial SMC. When cultured in the presence of heparin, newborn SMC show an increase of alpha-SM actin synthesis and content but no modification of the proportion of alpha-SM actin total (measured by Northern blots) and functional (measured by in vitro translation in a reticulocyte lysate) mRNAs compared to control cells cultured for the same time in FCS containing medium. This suggests that heparin action is exerted at a translational or post-translational level. Cultured newborn rat aortic SMC furnish an in vitro model for the study of several aspects of SMC differentiation and possibly of mechanisms leading to the establishment and prevention of atheromatous plaques.
Keywords Actins/metabolismAgingAnimalsAnimals, NewbornAorta, Thoracic/ growth & development/metabolism/ultrastructureBlotting, NorthernCells, CulturedClone CellsCytoskeletal Proteins/analysis/genetics/ metabolismCytoskeleton/metabolism/ ultrastructureDesmin/metabolismMuscle DevelopmentMuscle, Smooth, Vascular/ growth & development/metabolism/ultrastructureMyosins/metabolismRNA/genetics/isolation & purificationRatsRats, Inbred Strains
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PMID: 1377654
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