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J Cell Physiol. 1989 May;139(2):253-61.

Interaction of platelet-activating factor with endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells in coculture.

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Department of Biology, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242.


Platelet-activating factor (1-O-alkyl-2-acetyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [PAF]) is a vasoactive ether lipid produced by activated blood cells. To examine the molecular traffic and sites of metabolism of PAF released in the vascular wall, we used a coculture system in which endothelial cells are grown on micropore filters suspended over confluent cultures of vascular smooth muscle cells. The endothelial cells took up PAF 5-7 times more readily from the apical than from the basolateral surface, converting it to 1-O-alkyl-2-acyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (2-acyl-PAF) and other minor metabolites. Intact endothelial monolayers effectively shielded the underlying smooth muscle cells from PAF present in the apical fluid; after a 30-min incubation with [3H]-PAF, only 1% of the radioactivity was transferred to the interstitial fluid. By contrast, PAF readily entered the interstitial fluid when the endothelial monolayers were injured by exposure to xanthine and xanthine oxidase. PAF did not significantly increase the permeability of endothelial monolayers to albumin. Smooth muscle cells took up and metabolized interstitial PAF more quickly and more completely than did endothelial cells; 65% was converted to 2-acyl-PAF in 15 min by the smooth muscle cells. PAF enhanced the proliferative effect of PDGF on smooth muscle cells, as assessed by [3H]-thymidine incorporation. These findings suggest that endothelial cells form a barrier to PAF released at the luminal surface, but PAF released in the vascular intima interacts primarily with smooth muscle cells, possibly stimulating proliferation in these cells.

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