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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 1996 Apr;16(4):576-84.

Beta ig-h3, a transforming growth factor-beta-inducible gene, is overexpressed in atherosclerotic and restenotic human vascular lesions.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, USA.


Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) plays an important role in vascular lesion formation and possibly the renarrowing process ("restenosis") that occurs after balloon angioplasty. Secreted in a latent form by most cells, TFG-beta requires enzymatic conversion before it is biologically active. TGF-beta-inducible gene h3 (beta ig-h3) is a novel molecule that is induced when cells are treated with TGF-beta1. This study examined the expression of beta ig-h3 in normal and diseased human vascular tissue. To determine the expression pattern of beta ig-h3 in human arteries, immunocytochemistry was performed on tissue sections from (1) normal internal mammary arteries, (2) the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery (with minimal intimal thickening) of 15 patients aged 18 to 40 years, (3) primary and restenotic coronary lesions from 7 patients, and (4) fresh directional atherectomy tissue from 11 patients. A polyclonal antibody consistently immunodetected beta ig-h3 protein in endothelial cells of all vascular tissue. In normal coronary arteries of young individuals, beta ig-h3 protein was absent from the intima and media but was found in the subendothelial smooth muscle cells of some arteries with modest intimal thickening. In diseased arteries beta ig-h3 protein was more abundant in the intima than the media. Restenotic coronary lesions tended to show higher levels of immunodetectable beta ig-h3 protein, especially in areas of dense fibrous connective tissue. Beta ig-h3 protein was immunodetected in the cytoplasm of plaque macrophages as well as smooth muscle and endothelial cells. By using in situ hybridization on fresh directional atherectomy specimens, we found beta ig-h3 mRNA to be overexpressed by plaque macrophages and smooth muscle cells. Nondiseased human internal mammary arteries also expressed beta ig-h3 mRNA in endothelial cells but not in the smooth muscle cells of the normal intima and media. These results document the expression of beta ig-h3 in diseased human arterial tissue and support the hypothesis that active TGF-beta plays a role in atherogenesis and restenosis.

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