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Arterioscler Thromb. 1991 Sep-Oct;11(5):1166-74.

Expression of monocyte chemotactic protein and interleukin-8 by cytokine-activated human vascular smooth muscle cells.

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  • 1Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Milan, Italy.


The present study was designed to investigate the capacity of human vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) to produce a cytokine chemotactic for monocytes (monocyte chemotactic protein [MCP]) and by way of comparison, a related polypeptide activator of neutrophils (known as interleukin-8 [IL-8] or neutrophil activating protein-1 [NAP-1]. On exposure to IL-1, SMCs released high levels of chemotactic activity for monocytes, which could be removed by absorption with anti-MCP antibodies. MCP production by activated SMCs was comparable to that of IL-1-stimulated umbilical vein endothelial cells. Activated SMCs released appreciable levels of IL-8, as determined by a specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, but little chemotactic activity for neutrophils. IL-1-treated SMCs expressed high levels of both MCP and IL-8 mRNA transcripts, as assessed by Northern blot analysis. Tumor necrosis factor and bacterial lipopolysaccharide but not IL-6 also induced MCP and IL-8 gene expression in SMCs. Nuclear runoff analysis revealed that IL-1 augmented transcription of the MCP and IL-8 genes. The capacity of SMCs to produce a cytokine (MCP) that recruits and activates circulating mononuclear phagocytes may be of considerable importance in the pathogenesis of vascular diseases (e.g., vasculitis and atherosclerosis) that are characterized by monocyte infiltration of the vessel wall.

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