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Am J Pathol. 1997 Apr;150(4):1349-60.

Tenascin-C, proliferation and subendothelial fibronectin in progressive pulmonary vascular disease.

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Division of Cardiovascular Research, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Progressive pulmonary hypertension is characterized by smooth muscle cell proliferation and migration leading to occlusive arterial lesions. Previously, using cultured smooth muscle cells, we demonstrated that epidermal growth factor (EGF)-dependent proliferation and migration are dependent on tenascin-C (Tn) and cellular fibronectin (Fn), respectively. In this study we applied immunohistochemistry to lung biopsy tissue from patients with congenital heart defects and pulmonary hypertension to determine how the distribution and intensity of Tn, EGF, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), and Fn expression related to arterial abnormalities. With mildly increased wall thickness, minimal Tn, PCNA, and EGF was evident. With progressive hypertrophy, moderately intense foci of Tn were apparent in the adventitia, periendothelium, and occasionally the media but not consistently co-distributing with EGF and PCNA. With obstructive lesions, intense neointimal Tn expression co-localized with EGF and PCNA. Fn accumulation in the periendothelium increased with medial hypertrophy and became more widespread in a diffuse pattern with neointimal formation. The neointima was predominantly composed of alpha-smooth-muscle-actin-positive cells, occasional inflammatory cells with no evidence of apoptosis. These studies are consistent with Tn modulating EGF-dependent neointimal smooth muscle cell proliferation and Fn providing a gradient for smooth muscle cell migration from media to neointima.

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