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-Vein graft intimal hyperplasia, due to smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation, remains a limiting factor in long-term vein graft patency. Increased superoxide production regulates SMC mitogenesis and contributes to reduced NO bioactivity in systemic models of vascular disease. We compared superoxide production in experimental venous bypass grafts with ungrafted veins and determined its enzymatic sources and cellular localization. Vascular superoxide production was measured in vein grafts and control jugular veins obtained from normocholesterolemic rabbits undergoing jugular vein-carotid artery interposition bypass grafting. Surgical isolation of the contralateral jugular vein, without bypass grafting, provided an additional control for the effects of surgical manipulation. Superoxide production was increased 3-fold in vein grafts compared with control veins. Systematic stimulation and inhibition of specific oxidases revealed that the major source of increased vein graft superoxide production was a membrane-associated NAD(P)H-dependent oxidase. Western blotting of vascular homogenates demonstrated corresponding increases in NAD(P)H oxidase p22phox (membrane-associated) and p67phox (cytosolic) subunits in vein grafts compared with jugular veins. There was marked intimal hyperplasia in vein grafts, and immunohistochemical staining of vessel cryosections revealed increased p22phox-expressing cells in vein grafts that were predominantly intimal SMCs. Superoxide generation is increased in experimental vein grafts compared with ungrafted veins. The principal source of increased superoxide generation in vein grafts is an NAD(P)H oxidase, expressed by intimal SMCs. These findings suggest a role for NAD(P)H oxidase-mediated superoxide production in the proliferative response to vascular injury in vein grafts.


Journal article


Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol

Publication Date





189 - 194


Animals, Blotting, Western, Carotid Arteries, Ethidium, Hyperplasia, Immunohistochemistry, Jugular Veins, Male, Muscle, Smooth, Vascular, NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases, NADPH Oxidases, Rabbits, Superoxides, Tunica Intima