Background: Arterial injury is immediately followed by platelet adhesion at the site of injury, a process that requires the interaction of subendothelial von Willebrand factor with the platelet GP1b receptor. VCL, a recombinant von Willebrand factor GP1b binding domain, inhibits platelet binding to yon Willebrand factor. The aim of this study was to determine whether VCL inhibits platelet adhesion at the site of arterial injury and affects neointimal thickening after injury in rats. Methods and Results: Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized to receive VCL, 4 mg/kg bolus followed by a continuous infusion of 2 mg · kg-1 · h-1 for 72 hours, or an identical volume of saline. Balloon injury of the femoral artery was performed 15 minutes after the initial bolus injection of VCL. Scanning electron microscopy performed 1 and 3 days after injury indicated that VCL- treated rats had >80% reduction in the number of platelets adherent to the vessel wall at the site of injury compared with controls (P<.003). Histological examination at day 14 showed that, compared with controls, VCL- treated rats had a 60% reduction in the intima-media ratio (0.21±0.03 versus 0.53±0.06, P=.001) and a reduced luminal area stenosis (12±3% versus 38±10%, P=.04). At 28 days after injury, there was no rebound of neointimal thickening in VCL-treated rats (intima-media ratio, 0.19±0.04; luminal stenosis, 17±5%). The difference between VCL-treated rats and control rats persisted but was attenuated (intima-media ratio, 0.19±0.04 versus 0.28±0.1, P=.162; luminal stenosis, 17±5% versus 31±5%, P=.058) as neointimal thickening regressed in untreated rats. With the use of proliferating cell nuclear antigen immunohistochemistry on day 3, VCL had no effect on smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation. Conclusions: Antagonism of the platelet GP1b receptor by VCL profoundly decreased platelet deposition at the site of balloon injury in the rat femoral artery. This effect was associated with a persistent reduction in neointimal thickening. The lack of effect of VCL on SMC proliferation suggests that the decrease in neointimal thickening may have been mediated through inhibition of SMC migration and/or modulation of the extracellular matrix.
- muscle, smooth
- von Willebrand factor