IGF-I is an important determinant of the vascular response to injury in large part through its ability to stimulate migration and proliferation of smooth muscle cells (SMCs). In this study, we used mice with targeted disruption of the pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A gene (PAPP-A-/-) and wild-type (WT) littermates to test the hypotheses that PAPP-A, a metalloproteinase that cleaves inhibitory IGF binding protein (IGFBP)-4, regulates vascular SMC responses to IGF-I in vitro and is critical for the development of vascular neointima after injury in vivo. Vascular SMCs from PAPP-A-/- mice lacked IGFBP-4 protease activity and failed to respond to treatment with IGF-I in the presence of IGFBP-4, whereas SMCs from WT mice with robust IGFBP-4 protease activity showed significant migratory and proliferative responses to IGF-I/IGFBP-4. For in vivo testing, PAPP-A -/- and WT mice underwent unilateral carotid ligation, a model of injury-induced neointimal hyperplasia. In WT mice, PAPP-A mRNA expression was markedly elevated 7 and 14 d after carotid ligation, associated with a progressive increase in neointimal hyperplasia and, in many cases, with complete occlusion of the vessel at 28 d. In contrast, PAPP-A-/- mice showed little evidence of progression resulting in a 75% reduction in neointimal area when compared with WT at 28 d. Cells staining for proliferating cell nuclear antigen were plentiful in the SMC-rich medial and neointimal areas of the injured WT vessel in stark contrast to the relatively few proliferating cells in the same areas of the PAPP-A-/- vessel. Expression of IGF-I and IGFBP-4 was similarly elevated in injured carotids from WT and PAPP-A -/- mice with no change in IGF-I receptor expression. IGFBP-5, an IGF-responsive gene, was increased 2-fold in WT but not in PAPP-A-/- carotids, suggesting reduced IGF activity in the absence of PAPP-A. Thus, PAPP-A-deficient mice are resistant to neointimal formation after injury, which may be explained in part by the ability of PAPP-A to enhance local IGF-I stimulation of vascular SMCs through proteolysis of IGFBP-4.
ASJC Scopus subject areas