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Histochem J. 1997 Apr;29(4):279-86.

Effect of sympathectomy on the phenotype of smooth muscle cells of middle cerebral and ear arteries of hyperlipidaemic rabbits.

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Laboratoire de Recherches Cérébrovasculaires, CNRS UA 641, Université Paris VII, France.


This study was carried out to determine whether sympathectomy influences the phenotypic modulation of smooth muscle cells in the peripheral and cerebral arteries of heritable hyperlipidaemic rabbits. Unilateral superior cervical ganglionectomy (common origin of innervation to the middle cerebral artery and the central ear artery) was performed on four Watanabe heritable hyperlipidaemic rabbits. Cross-sections of the ipsi- (sympathectomized) and the contralateral (intact) cerebral and ear arteries were prepared 2 months later and labelled with monoclonal antibodies against vimentin and desmin, two markers of the differentiation of smooth muscle cells, and alpha-smooth muscle actin, a marker of these cells. Sections from control and sympathectomized arteries were analysed with a confocal laser scanning microscope. Compared with contralateral intact ear arteries, the sympathectomized ear artery developed a thickened intima with dedifferentiated smooth muscle cells, expressing alpha-smooth muscle actin but no desmin, whereas the middle cerebral artery remained unchanged. These results suggest that sympathectomy may favour the progression of atherosclerosis in peripheral but not in cerebral arteries of Watanabe heritable hyperlipidaemic rabbits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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