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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2009 Jul;29(7):1074-9. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.108.181081. Epub 2009 Apr 30.

Fibronectin is an important regulator of flow-induced vascular remodeling.

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  • 1Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.



Fibronectin is an important regulator of cell migration, differentiation, growth, and survival. Our data show that fibronectin also plays an important role in regulating extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling. Fibronectin circulates in the plasma and is also deposited into the ECM by a cell dependent process. To determine whether fibronectin affects vascular remodeling in vivo, we asked whether the fibronectin polymerization inhibitor, pUR4, inhibits intima-media thickening, and prevents excess ECM deposition in arteries using a mouse model of vascular remodeling.


To induce vascular remodeling, partial ligation of the left external and internal carotid arteries was performed in mice. pUR4 and the control peptide were applied periadventitially in pluronic gel immediately after surgery. Animals were euthanized 7 or 14 days after surgery. Morphometric analysis demonstrated that the pUR4 fibronectin inhibitor reduced carotid intima (63%), media (27%), and adventitial thickening (40%) compared to the control peptide (III-11C). Treatment with pUR4 also resulted in a dramatic decrease in leukocyte infiltration into the vessel wall (80%), decreased ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 levels, inhibited cell proliferation (60% to 70%), and reduced fibronectin and collagen I accumulation in the vessel wall. In addition, the fibronectin inhibitor prevented SMC phenotypic modulation, as evidenced by the maintenance of smooth muscle (SM) alpha-actin and SM myosin heavy chain levels in medial cells.


These data are the first to demonstrate that fibronectin plays an important role in regulating the vascular remodeling response. Collectively, these data suggest a therapeutic benefit of periadventitial pUR4 in reducing pathological vascular remodeling.

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