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Circulation. 2001 Jan 30;103(4):597-603.

Endothelial cells inhibit flow-induced smooth muscle cell migration: role of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642-8410, USA.



The endothelium may play a pivotal role in hemodynamic force-induced vascular remodeling. We investigated the role of endothelial cell (EC) plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) in modulating flow-induced smooth muscle cell (SMC) migration.


Human SMCs cocultured with or without human ECs were exposed to static (0 mL/min) or flow (26 mL/min; shear stress 23 dyne/cm(2)) conditions for 24 hours in a perfused capillary culture system. SMC migration was then assessed with a Transwell migration assay. In the absence but not in the presence of ECs, pulsatile flow significantly increased the migration of SMCs (264+/-26%) compared with SMCs under static conditions, concomitant with a 3- and 4-fold increase in PAI-1 mRNA and protein, respectively, in cocultured ECs. In the presence of PAI-1-/- ECs, flow increased wild-type SMC migration (226+/-25%), an effect that was reversed by exogenous PAI-1. To determine whether the antimigratory activity of PAI-1 was dependent primarily on inhibition of PAs or its association with vitronectin, experiments were conducted with PAI-1R (a mutant PAI-1 that binds to vitronectin but does not inhibit PA) and PAI-1K (a mutant that inhibits PA but has reduced affinity for vitronectin). PAI-1R inhibited both basal and flow-induced migration, whereas PAI-1K inhibited flow-induced migration in the absence of any effect on baseline migration.


Flow-induced EC PAI-1 inhibits flow-induced SMC migration in vitro. EC PAI-1 expression may be one of the predominant mechanisms responsible for controlling the process of vascular remodeling.

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