The presence of C5b-9 complexes, some complement regulators, and abundant cytokines in atherosclerotic lesions has been reported. However, it is unclear whether these complement-associated proteins are produced by vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and how they are influenced by the cytokines. In the present study, we demonstrated, by the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction method, the mRNA expression of complement components (C3, C4, and C5) and membrane regulators (decay-accelerating factor, membrane cofactor protein, Crry, and CD59) in cultured SMCs derived from the rat carotid artery. The expression of C9 mRNA was also induced upon stimulation by interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and/or lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Northern blot analysis showed that the mRNA expression of C3, C4, DAF and Crry was up-regulated, but that of CD59 was down-regulated by IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha and/or LPS alone or by synergy. The increase of C3 mRNA by TNF-alpha or LPS and that of C4 mRNA by IFN-gamma was induced in a dose-dependent manner. The results indicate that the arterial SMCs of rat have the ability to produce complement components and regulators, which is affected by cytokines and/or LPS. Since atherosclerosis is characterized by the intimal proliferation of SMCs, the complement system including its regulators may be involved in the pathogenesis of the disease.
Download Full PDF Version (Non-Commercial Use)