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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2002 Dec 1;22(12):1978-83.

Plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 and vitronectin protect against stenosis in a murine carotid artery ligation model.

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Department of Biochemistry, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



We previously reported that plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1), in the presence of vitronectin (VN), inhibits thrombin activity in vitro. Furthermore, we demonstrated in human atherosclerotic plaques the colocalization of thrombin, PAI-1, and VN, as well as activity of thrombin and PAI-1. Here, we show that PAI-1 is a local thrombin inhibitor in vivo.


We used the murine carotid artery ligation model to assess the role of PAI-1 and VN in stenosis by using PAI-1-deficient (PAI-1(-/-)) and VN(-/-) mice. Ligation resulted in a smooth muscle cell (SMC)-rich intima without infiltrating cells. We show that PAI-1(-/-) and VN(-/-) mice generate a larger intima than wild-type mice as the result of more extensive SMC proliferation, as evidenced by cell counting and staining for proliferating cell-nuclear antigen.


In PAI-1(-/-) mice, excessive intima formation is prevented by the thrombin-specific inhibitor hirudin. Finally, immunohistochemical analysis revealed PAI-1, VN, and (pro)thrombin antigen in intimal lesions. Our observations are compatible with inhibition of thrombin-mediated SMC proliferation by PAI-1/VN complexes.

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