Atherosclerosis is a complex disease in which smooth muscle cells (SMC) play a fundamental role. Work from several laboratories has suggested that in experimental models of atheromatosis SMC heterogeneity is important in the establishment of intimal thickening. Moreover, it has been shown that SMC cultured from different situations in vivo maintain distinct phenotypic features in vitro. In order to find proteins differentially expressed in SMC cultured from newborn and aged rats, total protein extracts were separated by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2D-PAGE), high-resolution maps were built, and differentially expressed spots were identified by automatic computer analysis. Of the 14 differentially expressed protein spots, 4 were present in SMC of newborn and 10 in SMC of old animals; we describe their molecular weights and isoelectric points. One of these proteins (expressed only in cultured SMC of old rats) was successfully microsequenced for 16 amino acids and it was found identical to cellular retinol-binding protein. This result provides, to our knowledge, the first suggestion that retinoids are implicated in the differentiation and aging of vascular SMC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology