Spatial distribution and mechanical function of elastin in resistance arteries: a role in bearing longitudinal stress.
ABSTRACT: Despite the role that extracellular matrix (ECM) plays in vascular signaling, little is known of the complex structural arrangement between specific ECM proteins and vascular smooth muscle cells. Our objective was to examine the hypothesis that adventitial elastin fibers are dominant in vessels subject to longitudinal stretch.Cremaster muscle arterioles were isolated, allowed to develop spontaneous tone, and compared with small cerebral arteries. 3D confocal microscopy was used to visualize ECM within the vessel wall. Pressurized arterioles were fixed and stained with Alexa 633 hydrazide (as a nonselective ECM marker), anti-elastin, or anti-type 1 collagen antibody and a fluorescent nuclear stain. Exposure of cremaster muscle arterioles to elastase for 5 minutes caused an irreversible lengthening of the vessel segment that was not observed in cerebral arteries. Longitudinal elastin fibers were demonstrated on cremaster muscle arterioles using 3D imaging but were confirmed to be absent in cerebral vessels. The fibers were also distinct from type I collagen fibers and were degraded by elastase treatment.These results indicate the importance of elastin in bearing longitudinal stress in the arteriolar wall and that these fibers constrain vascular smooth muscle cells. Differences between skeletal muscle and cerebral small arteries may reflect differences in the local mechanical environment, such as exposure to longitudinal stretch.
Project description:Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterised by pathologic cerebrovascular remodelling. Whether this occurs already before disease onset, as may be indicated by early Braak tau-related cerebral hypoperfusion and blood-brain barrier (BBB) impairment found in previous studies, remains unknown. Therefore, we systematically quantified Braak tau stage- and cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA)-dependent alterations in the alpha-smooth muscle actin (?-SMA), collagen, and elastin content of leptomeningeal arterioles, small arteries, and medium-sized arteries surrounding the gyrus frontalis medialis (GFM) and hippocampus (HIPP), including the sulci, of 17 clinically and pathologically diagnosed AD subjects (Braak stage IV-VI) and 28 non-demented control subjects (Braak stage I-IV). GFM and HIPP paraffin sections were stained for general collagen and elastin with the Verhoeff-van Gieson stain; ?-SMA and CAA/amyloid ? (A?) were detected using immunohistochemistry. Significant arterial elastin degradation was observed from Braak stage III onward and correlated with Braak tau pathology (? = 0.909, 95% CI 0.370 to 0.990, p < 0.05). This was accompanied by an increase in neutrophil elastase expression by ?-SMA-positive cells in the vessel wall. Small and medium-sized arteries exhibited significant CAA-independent ?-SMA loss starting between Braak stage I and II-III, along with accumulation of phosphorylated paired helical filament (PHF) tau in the perivascular space of intraparenchymal vessels. ?-SMA remained at the decreased level throughout the later Braak stages. In contrast, arterioles exhibited significant ?-SMA loss only at Braak stage V and VI/in AD subjects, which was CAA-dependent/correlated with CAA burden (? = -0.422, 95% CI -0.557 to -0.265, p < 0.0001). Collagen content was only significantly changed in small arteries. Our data indicate that vessel wall remodelling of leptomeningeal arteries is an early-onset, Braak tau pathology-dependent process unrelated to CAA and AD, which potentially may contribute to downstream CAA-dependent microvascular pathology in AD.
Project description:Previous studies report functional differences in large conductance Ca2+ activated-K+ channels (BKCa) of smooth muscle cells (VSMC) from rat cerebral and cremaster muscle resistance arteries. The present studies aimed to determine if this complexity in BKCa activity may, in part, be due to splice variants in the pore-forming ?-subunit. BKCa variants in the intracellular C terminus of the ?-subunit, and their relative expression to total ?-subunit, were examined by qPCR. Sequencing of RT-PCR products showed two ?-subunit variants, ZERO and STREX, to be identical in cremaster and cerebral arteries. Levels of STREX mRNA expression were, however, significantly higher in cremaster VSMCs (28.9±4.2% of total ?-BKCa) compared with cerebral vessels (16.5±0.9%). Further, a low level of BKCa SS4 ?-subunit variant was seen in cerebral arteries, while undetectable in cremaster arteries. Protein biotinylation assays, in expression systems and arterial preparations, were used to determine whether differences in splice variant mRNA expression affect surface membrane/cytosolic location of the channel. In AD-293 and CHO-K1 cells, rat STREX was more likely to be located at the plasma membrane compared to ZERO, although the great majority of channel protein was in the membrane in both cases. Co-expression of ?1-BKCa subunit with STREX or ZERO did not influence the dominant membrane expression of ?-BKCa subunits, whereas in the absence of ?-BKCa, a significant proportion of ?1-subunit remained cytosolic. Biotinylation assays of cremaster and cerebral arteries showed that differences in STREX/ZERO expression do not alter membrane/cytosolic distribution of the channel under basal conditions. These data, however, revealed that the amount of ?-BKCa in cerebral arteries is approximately 20X higher than in cremaster vessels. Thus, the data support the major functional differences in BKCa activity in cremaster, as compared to cerebral VSMCs, being related to total ?-BKCa expression, regardless of differences in splice variant expression.
Project description:We demonstrate that Alexa Fluor 633 hydrazide (Alexa Fluor 633) selectively labels neocortical arteries and arterioles by binding to elastin fibers. We measured sensory stimulus-evoked arteriole dilation dynamics in mouse, rat and cat visual cortex using Alexa Fluor 633 together with neuronal activity using calcium indicators or blood flow using fluorescein dextran. Arteriole dilation decreased fluorescence recorded from immediately underlying neurons, representing a potential artifact during neuronal functional imaging experiments.
Project description:The temporomandibular joint disc is a fibrocartilaginous structure, composed of collagen fibers, elastin fibers, and proteoglycans. Despite the crucial role of elastin fibers in load-bearing properties of connective tissues, its contribution in temporomandibular joint disc biomechanics has been disregarded. This study attempts to characterize the structural-functional contribution of elastin in the temporomandibular joint disc. Using elastase, we selectively perturbed the elastin fiber network in porcine temporomandibular joint discs and investigated the structural, compositional, and mechanical regional changes through: (a) analysis of collagen and elastin fibers by immunolabeling and transmission electron microscopy; (b) quantitative analysis of collagen tortuosity, cell shape, and disc volume; (c) biochemical quantification of collagen, glycosaminoglycan and elastin content; and (d) cyclic compression test. Following elastase treatment, microscopic examination revealed fragmentation of elastin fibers across the temporomandibular joint disc, with a more pronounced effect in the intermediate regions. Also, biochemical analyses of the intermediate regions showed significant depletion of elastin (50%), and substantial decrease in collagen (20%) and glycosaminoglycan (49%) content, likely due to non-specific activity of elastase. Degradation of elastin fibers affected the homeostatic configuration of the disc, reflected in its significant volume enlargement accompanied by remarkable reduction of collagen tortuosity and cell elongation. Mechanically, elastase treatment nearly doubled the maximal energy dissipation across the intermediate regions while the instantaneous modulus was not significantly affected. We conclude that elastin fibers contribute to the restoration and maintenance of the disc resting shape and actively interact with collagen fibers to provide mechanical resilience to the temporomandibular joint disc.
Project description:The complex network structure of elastin and collagen extracellular matrix (ECM) forms the primary load bearing components in the arterial wall. The structural and mechanobiological interactions between elastin and collagen are important for properly functioning arteries. Here, we examined the elastin and collagen organization, realignment, and recruitment by coupling mechanical loading and multiphoton imaging. Two-photon excitation fluorescence and second harmonic generation methods were performed with a multiphoton video-rate microscope to capture real time changes to the elastin and collagen structure during biaxial deformation. Enzymatic removal of elastin was performed to assess the structural changes of the remaining collagen structure. Quantitative analysis of the structural changes to elastin and collagen was made using a combination of two-dimensional fast Fourier transform and fractal analysis, which allows for a more complete understanding of structural changes. Our study provides new quantitative evidence, to our knowledge on the sequential engagement of different arterial ECM components in response to mechanical loading. The adventitial collagen exists as large wavy bundles of fibers that exhibit fiber engagement after 20% strain. The medial collagen is engaged throughout the stretching process, and prominent elastic fiber engagement is observed up to 20% strain after which the engagement plateaus. The fiber orientation distribution functions show remarkably different changes in the ECM structure in response to mechanical loading. The medial collagen shows an evident preferred circumferential distribution, however the fiber families of adventitial collagen are obscured by their waviness at no or low mechanical strains. Collagen fibers in both layers exhibit significant realignment in response to unequal biaxial loading. The elastic fibers are much more uniformly distributed and remained relatively unchanged due to loading. Removal of elastin produces similar structural changes in collagen as mechanical loading. Our study suggests that the elastic fibers are under tension and impart an intrinsic compressive stress on the collagen.
Project description:This study was designed to determine whether vonapanitase (formerly PRT-201), a recombinant human elastase, treatment can fragment the protein elastin in elastic fibers and cause dilation of atherosclerotic human peripheral arteries subjected to ex vivo balloon angioplasty.Seven patients undergoing lower limb amputation for peripheral artery disease or who died and donated their bodies to science donated 11 tibial arteries (5 anterior, 6 posterior) for this study. All arteries were atherosclerotic by visual inspection. The arteries underwent ex vivo balloon angioplasty and thereafter were cut into rings and studied on wire myographs where the rings were stretched and tension was recorded. After treatment with vonapanitase 2 mg/mL or vehicle control, myography was repeated and the rings were then subject to elastin content measurement using a desmosine radioimmunoassay and elastic fiber visualization by histology. The wire myography data were used to derive compliance, stress-strain, and incremental elastic modulus curves.Vonapanitase treatment reduced elastin (desmosine) content by 60% and decreased elastic fiber histologic staining. Vonapanitase-treated rings experienced less tension at any level of stretch and as a result had shifts in the compliance and stress-strain curves relative to vehicle-treated rings. Vonapanitase treatment did not alter the incremental elastic modulus curve.Vonapanitase treatment of atherosclerotic human peripheral arteries after ex vivo balloon angioplasty fragmented elastin in elastic fibers, decreased tension in the rings at any level of stretch, and altered the compliance and stress-strain curves in a manner predicting arterial dilation in vivo. Based on this result, local treatment of balloon angioplasty sites may increase blood vessel diameter and thereby improve the success of balloon angioplasty in peripheral artery disease.
Project description:We sought to determine some of the molecular requirements for basal state "tone" of skeletal muscle arterioles in vivo, and whether asynchronous Ca(2+) waves are involved or not.Cremaster muscles of anesthetized exMLCK and smGCaMP2 biosensor mice were exteriorized, and the fluorescent arterioles were visualized with wide-field, confocal or multiphoton microscopy to observe Ca(2+) signaling and arteriolar diameter.Basal state tone of the arterioles was ~50%. Local block of Ang-II receptors (AT1 ) or ?1 -adrenoceptors (?1 -AR) had no effect on diameter, nor did complete block of sympathetic nerve activity (SNA). Inhibition of phospholipase C caused dilation nearly to the Ca(2+) -free (passive) diameter, as did exposure to nifedipine or 2-APB. Arterioles were also dilated when treated with SKF96365. High-resolution imaging of exMLCK fluorescence (ratio) or GCaMP2 fluorescence in smooth muscle cells failed to reveal Ca(2+) waves (although Ca(2+) waves/transients were readily detected by both biosensors in small arteries, ex vivo).Arterioles of cremaster muscle have vascular tone of ~ 50%, which is not due to ?1 -AR, AT1 R, or SNA. PLC activity, L-type Ca(2+) channels, 2-APB- and SKF96365-sensitive channels are required. Propagating Ca(2+) waves are not present. A key role for PLC and InsP3 R in vascular tone in vivo, other than producing Ca(2+) waves, is suggested.
Project description:Conventional bioreactors are used to enhance extracellular matrix (ECM) production and mechanical strength of tissue-engineered vessels (TEVs) by applying circumferential strain, which is uniaxial stretching. However, the resulting TEVs still suffer from inadequate mechanical properties, where rupture strengths and compliance values are still very different from native arteries. The biomechanical milieu of native arteries consists of both circumferential and axial loading. Therefore, to better simulate the physiological stresses acting on native arteries, we built a novel bioreactor system to enable biaxial stretching of engineered arteries during culture. This new bioreactor system allows for independent control of circumferential and axial stretching parameters, such as displacement and beat rate. The assembly and setup processes for this biaxial bioreactor system are reliable with a success rate greater than 75% for completion of long-term sterile culture. This bioreactor also supports side-by-side assessments of TEVs that are cultured under three types of mechanical conditions (static, uniaxial, and biaxial), all within the same biochemical environment. Using this bioreactor, we examined the impact of biaxial stretching on arterial wall remodeling of TEVs. Biaxial TEVs developed the greatest wall thickness compared with static and uniaxial TEVs. Unlike uniaxial loading, biaxial loading led to undulated collagen fibers that are commonly found in native arteries. More importantly, the biaxial TEVs developed the most mature elastin in the ECM, both qualitatively and quantitatively. The presence of mature extracellular elastin along with the undulated collagen fibers may contribute to the observed vascular compliance in the biaxial TEVs. The current work shows that biaxial stretching is a novel and promising means to improve TEV generation. Furthermore, this novel system allows us to optimize biomechanical conditioning by unraveling the interrelationships among the applied mechanical stress, the resulting ECM properties, and the mechanics of TEVs.
Project description:At physiologic pressures, elastic fibers constrain artery diameter. Local treatment of atherosclerotic arteries with PRT-201, a recombinant type I elastase, could result in fragmentation and removal of elastin fibers and increased vessel diameter.To investigate the use of PRT-201 as a treatment for human atherosclerotic arteries.Arteries were harvested from donor legs amputated due to severe peripheral artery disease or from recently deceased persons who donated their bodies to science. Three- to four-centimeter artery segments were studied on a perfusion myograph to obtain baseline diameter data. After treatment with PRT-201 3.6 mg/mL or saline for 30 minutes myography was repeated. PRT-201 treatment resulted in an increase in vessel diameter across a range of transmural pressures. Average anterior tibial artery diameter increased by 0.78 ± 0.21 mm (27% ± 12%), whereas average posterior tibial artery diameter increased by 0.58 ± 0.30 mm (21% ± 11%), both P < 0.001. Elastin content as measured by desmosine radioimmunoassay was reduced by approximately 50%, P < 0.001.The results suggest that PRT-201 treatment of atherosclerotic peripheral arteries in patients could increase artery diameter, and thus luminal area, possibly alleviating some of the symptoms of peripheral artery disease.