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Mol Cell Biochem. 2006 Jan;281(1-2):1-15.

DNA microarray study on gene expression profiles in co-cultured endothelial and smooth muscle cells in response to 4- and 24-h shear stress.

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Wallenberg Laboratory for Vascular Research, Department of Surgery and Vascular Surgery, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.


Shear stress, a major hemodynamic force acting on the vessel wall, plays an important role in physiological processes such as cell growth, differentiation, remodelling, metabolism, morphology, and gene expression. We investigated the effect of shear stress on gene expression profiles in co-cultured vascular endothelial cells (ECs) and smooth muscle cells (SMCs). Human aortic ECs were cultured as a confluent monolayer on top of confluent human aortic SMCs, and the EC side of the co-culture was exposed to a laminar shear stress of 12 dyn/cm(2) for 4 or 24 h. After shearing, the ECs and SMCs were separated and RNA was extracted from the cells. The RNA samples were labelled and hybridized with cDNA array slides that contained 8694 genes. Statistical analysis showed that shear stress caused the differential expression (p < or = 0.05) of a total of 1151 genes in ECs and SMCs. In the co-cultured ECs, shear stress caused the up-regulation of 403 genes and down-regulation of 470. In the co-cultured SMCs, shear stress caused the up-regulation of 152 genes and down-regulation of 126 genes. These results provide new information on the gene expression profile and its potential functional consequences in co-cultured ECs and SMCs exposed to a physiological level of laminar shear stress. Although the effects of shear stress on gene expression in monocultured and co-cultured EC are generally similar, the response of some genes to shear stress is opposite between these two types of culture (e.g., ICAM-1 is up-regulated in monoculture and down-regulated in co-culture), which strongly indicates that EC-SMC interactions affect EC responses to shear stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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