Responsiveness of aortic smooth muscle cells to soluble growth mediators is influenced by cell-matrix contact.
Excessive proliferation and overexpression of collagens by smooth muscle cells (SMCs) are important features of atherogenesis. To understand the role of the extracellular matrix in the regulation of these processes, we examined proliferation and protein/collagen synthesis of SMCs in contact with a collagen matrix. Adult pig SMCs were isolated from the aortic media by collagenase digestion, subcultured as monolayers, and then embedded into a three-dimensional network of type I collagen, ie, a collagen lattice. Cells were subsequently exposed to growth-promoting media, and their behavior was observed in comparison with monolayer cultures on plastic. Treatment of monolayers with increasing concentrations of fetal calf serum resulted in activation of the cell cycle, onset of cell proliferation, and increased protein/collagen synthesis. In contrast, similar treatment of collagen lattice-cultured SMCs failed to influence cell proliferation and protein/collagen synthesis. However, stimulation of proliferation of lattice-cultured SMCs by platelet-derived growth factor-A/B was feasible; nevertheless, the rate of proliferation was modest compared with monolayers. In addition, the onset of proliferation was accompanied by a decrease in collagen synthesis of the cells. Thus, a collagenous matrix appears to suppress the responsiveness of SMCs to soluble growth mediators. It is speculated that interactions between SMCs and the extracellular matrix may modify proliferation and protein/collagen synthesis of cells not only in vitro but also in vivo during atherogenesis by making and breaking binding sites between extracellular collagen and matrix receptors.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association