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Exp Cell Res. 2013 Feb 1;319(3):134-43. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2012.09.015. Epub 2012 Oct 1.

Experimental studies of mitochondrial function in CADASIL vascular smooth muscle cells.

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Division of Clinical Geriatrics, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Cerebral Autosomal Dominant Arteriopathy with Subcortical Infarcts and Leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is a familiar fatal progressive degenerative disorder characterized by cognitive decline, and recurrent stroke in young adults. Pathological features include a dramatic reduction of brain vascular smooth muscle cells and severe arteriopathy with the presence of granular osmophilic material in the arterial walls. Here we have investigated the cellular and mitochondrial function in vascular smooth muscle cell lines (VSMCs) established from CADASIL mutation carriers (R133C) and healthy controls. We found significantly lower proliferation rates in CADASIL VSMC as compared to VSMC from controls. Cultured CADASIL VSMCs were not more vulnerable than control cells to a number of toxic substances. Morphological studies showed reduced mitochondrial connectivity and increased number of mitochondria in CADASIL VSMCs. Transmission electron microscopy analysis demonstrated increased irregular and abnormal mitochondria in CADASIL VSMCs. Measurements of mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψ(m)) showed a lower percentage of fully functional mitochondria in CADASIL VSMCs. For a number of genes previously reported to be changed in CADASIL VSMCs, immunoblotting analysis demonstrated a significantly reduced SOD1 expression. These findings suggest that alteration of proliferation and mitochondrial function in CADASIL VSMCs might have an effect on vital cellular functions important for CADASIL pathology.

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