Marco R. Schroeter a , Matthias Sawalich a , Tim Humboldt a , Maren Leifheit a , Kris Meurrens c , An Berges c , Haiyan Xu c , Stefan Lebrun d , Thomas Wallerath b , Stavros Konstantinides a , Raymond Schleef e , Katrin Schaefer a
23 April 2008
Background: Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease. However, in terms of the vessel wall, the underlying pathomechanisms of cigarette smoking are incompletely understood, partly due to a lack of adequate in vivo models. Methods: Apolipoprotein E-deficient mice were exposed to filtered air (sham) or to cigarette mainstream smoke at a total particulate matter (TPM) concentration of 600 µg/l for 1, 2, 3, or 4 h, for 5 days/week. After exposure for 10 ± 1 weeks, arterial thrombosis and neointima formation at the carotid artery were induced using 10% ferric chloride. Results: Mice exposed to mainstream smoke exhibited shortened time to thrombotic occlusion (p < 0.01) and lower vascular patency rates (p < 0.001). Morphometric and immunohistochemical analysis of neointimal lesions demonstrated that mainstream smoke exposure increased the amount of α-actin-positive smooth muscle cells (p < 0.05) and dose-dependently increased the intima-to-media ratio (p < 0.05). Additional analysis of smooth muscle cellsin vitro suggested that 10 µg TPM/ml increased cell proliferation without affecting viability or apoptosis, whereas higher concentrations (100 and 500 µg TPM/ml) appeared to be cytotoxic. Conclusions: Taken together, these findings suggest that cigarette smoking promotes arterial thrombosis and modulates the size and composition of neointimal lesions after arterial injury in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice.