β1-Integrin Is Essential for Vasoregulation and Smooth Muscle Survival In Vivo
Objective—Integrins contribute to vascular morphogenesis through regulation of adhesion and assembly of the extracellular matrix. However, the role of β1-integrin in the mature vascular wall is less clear.
Approach and Results—We sought to determine the function of β1-integrin in mature smooth muscle cells in vivo using a loss of function approach by crossing a tamoxifen-inducible sm22αCre line to a floxed β1-integrin transgenic line. Adult mice lacking smooth muscle β1-integrin survived only 10 weeks post induction. The deletion of β1-integrin resulted in profound loss of vasomotor control. Histological analysis revealed progressive fibrosis in arteries with associated apoptosis of smooth muscle cells, which was not rescued by adventitial stem cells. Smooth muscle cell apoptosis was detected in arteries with dead cells replaced primarily by collagen. Despite the catastrophic effects on vascular smooth muscle, the deleted visceral smooth muscle remained viable with the exception of a short portion of the colon, indicating that vascular but not visceral smooth muscle is particularly sensitive to changes in β1-integrin.
Conclusions—This study reveals an essential function of β1-integrin in the maintenance of vasomotor control and highlights a critical role for β1-integrin in vascular, but not visceral, smooth muscle survival.
- Received October 18, 2012.
- Accepted June 16, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.