Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell–Derived Transforming Growth Factor-β Promotes Maturation of Activated, Neointima Lesion–Like Macrophages
Objective—To define the contribution of vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC)–derived factors to macrophage phenotypic modulation in the setting of vascular injury.
Approach and Results—By flow cytometry, macrophages were the predominant myeloid cell type recruited to wire-injured femoral arteries, in mouse, compared with neutrophils or eosinophils. Recruited macrophages from injured vessels exhibited a distinct expression profile relative to circulating mononuclear cells (peripheral blood monocytes; increased: interleukin-6, interleukin-10, interleukin-12b, CCR3, CCR7, tumor necrosis factor-α, inducible nitric oxide synthase, arginase 1; decreased: interleukin-12a, MMP9). This phenotype was recapitulated in vitro by maturing rat bone marrow cells in the presence of macrophage-colony stimulating factor and 20% conditioned media from cultured rat SMC (sMφ) compared with maturation in macrophage-colony stimulating factor alone (M0). Recombinant transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 recapitulated the effect of SMC conditioned media. Macrophage maturation studies performed in the presence of a pan-TGF-β neutralizing antibody, a TGF-β receptor inhibitor, or conditioned media from TGF-β–depleted SMCs confirmed that the SMC-derived factor responsible for macrophage activation was TGF-β. Finally, the effect of SMC-mediated macrophage activation on SMC biology was assessed. SMCs cocultured with sMφ exhibited increased rates of proliferation relative to SMCs cultured alone or with M0 macrophages.
Conclusions—SMC-derived TGF-β modulates the phenotype of maturing macrophages in vitro, recapitulating the phenotype found in vascular lesions in vivo. SMC-modulated macrophages induce SMC activation to a greater extent than control macrophages.
- Received October 22, 2013.
- Accepted February 3, 2014.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.