The aim of this study was to elucidate the role of angio-associated migratory cell protein (AAMP) for the migration of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and for the development of neointimal hyperplasia after vascular injury.
Although AAMP has been shown to participate in angiogenesis and cancerogenesis and is predominantly expressed in cells with a migratory phenotype, involvement of AAMP during neointima (NI) formation after arterial injury has not been analyzed previously.
The AAMP content in SMCs was examined using 2-photon laser-scanning microscopy and subcellular fractioning. Migratory potential of SMCs transiently transfected with AAMP expression vectors, transfected with small interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA), or treated with antirecombinant angio-associated migratory cell protein–antibody (anti-rAAMP-ab) was examined using transwell migration chamber assays. Expression of AAMP was determined in the atherogenic apolipoprotein E knockout (apoE−/−) mouse model and in the porcine coronary restenosis model by immunohistochemistry and by Western blot. ApoE−/− mice were treated intraperitoneally with anti-rAAMP-ab, and wire-injured carotid arteries were examined.
Angio-associated migratory cell protein is localized in the membrane of SMCs, and its expression is enhanced in NI-derived SMCs. The AAMP overexpression increases, while both treatment with anti-rAAMP-ab and transfection with siRNA decreases SMC migration. Knockdown of AAMP decreases RhoA activity in the membrane fraction of SMCs. The AAMP expression by SMCs is enhanced in both animal models. Anti-rAAMP-ab reduces neointimal SMC density at 1 week and NI formation at 4 weeks in apoE−/− mice without affecting proliferation of SMCs.
These data reveal an important functional role of AAMP in the migration of SMCs, identifying AAMP as a potential target to limit lesion formation after injury.