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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2019 Mar 1;316(3):C424-C433. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00405.2018. Epub 2019 Jan 16.

Smooth muscle cell-specific knockout of neuropilin-1 impairs postnatal lung development and pathological vascular smooth muscle cell accumulation.

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Centre for Cardiovascular Biology and Medicine, BHF Laboratories, Division of Medicine, University College London , London , United Kingdom.


Neuropilin 1 (NRP1) is important for neuronal and cardiovascular development due to its role in conveying class 3 semaphorin and vascular endothelial growth factor signaling, respectively. NRP1 is expressed in smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and mediates their migration and proliferation in cell culture and is implicated in pathological SMC remodeling in vivo. To address the importance of Nrp1 for SMC function during development, we generated conditional inducible Nrp1 SMC-specific knockout mice. Induction of early postnatal SMC-specific Nrp1 knockout led to pulmonary hemorrhage associated with defects in alveogenesis and revealed a specific requirement for Nrp1 in myofibroblast recruitment to the alveolar septae and PDGF-AA-induced migration in vitro. Furthermore, SMC-specific Nrp1 knockout inhibited PDGF-BB-stimulated SMC outgrowth ex vivo in aortic ring assays and reduced pathological arterial neointima formation in vivo. In contrast, we observed little significant effect of SMC-specific Nrp1 knockout on neonatal retinal vascularization. Our results point to a requirement of Nrp1 in vascular smooth muscle and myofibroblast function in vivo, which may have relevance for postnatal lung development and for pathologies characterized by excessive SMC and/or myofibroblast proliferation.


SMC; alveolar myofibroblast; neointima; neuropilin-1

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