Thrombospondin-1 in Early Flow-Related Remodeling of Mesenteric Arteries from Young Normotensive and Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats

P Lemkens1, GEM Boari2, GE Fazzi1, GMJ Janssen1, JE Murphy-Ullrich3, PMH Schiffers1, JGR De Mey1, *
1 Department of Pharmacology, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
2 Department of Internal Medicine, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy
3 Department of Pathology, Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA

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© Lemkens et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Pharmacology, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands; Tel: 0031-433881414; Fax: 0031-433884149; E-mail:


We tested the hypotheses that TSP-1 participates in the initiation of remodeling of small muscular arteries in response to altered blood flow and that the N-terminal domain of TSP-1 (hepI) can reverse the pathological inward remodeling of resistance arteries from SHR.

We measured (1) changes in gene/protein expression in MA of 6 week old WKY and SHR exposed to either increased (+ 100 %) or reduced blood flow (- 90 %) for 24-40 hours and (2) structural changes in MA of 12 week old SHR exposed for 3 days to hepI in organ culture.

In both HF and LF of WKY, mRNA expression of eNOS, sGCα1 and PKG1β were significantly reduced (p < 0.05), whereas mRNA of TSP1 was markedly increased (p < 0.05). In MA of young SHR, similar results were obtained except that eNOS mRNA was not reduced in LF. Expression of TSP1 protein was significantly increased in LF of young WKY and SHR (p < 0.05). Exposure of MA of 12 week old SHR to hepI (1 µmol/L) resulted in a rapid lumen diameter increase (+ 12 ± 2% after 3 days) without alteration in vascular reactivity, distensibility, media surface area or cell number.

These are the first observations of reduced gene expression of eNOS/sGC/PKG and increased expression of TSP1 at the initiation of arterial remodeling in young WKY and SHR, irrespective of its outward or inward outcome. Furthermore, a fragment of TSP-1 rapidly and directly reversed pathological inward arterial remodeling of SHR in vitro.

Keywords: Arterial remodeling, eNOS, experimental hypertension, gene-expression, guanylyl cyclase, protein kinase G, resistance arteries, thrombospondin-1..