Expression of Heparan Sulphate N-deacetylase/N-sulphotransferase by Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells
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Heparan sulphate is an important mediator in determining vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) phenotype. The sulphation pattern of the heparan sulphate chains is critical to their function. We have examined the initial step in the biosynthesis of the sulphated domains mediated by the enzyme heparan sulphate N-deacetylase/N-sulphotransferase (NDST). Rabbit aortic SMC in primary culture exhibited NDST enzyme activity and expressed NDST-1 in their Golgi apparatus, with maximal expression in SMC 2 days after dispersal in primary culture confirmed by Western blot analysis. Endothelial cells, macrophages and fibroblasts expressed NDST-1 but had generally less intense staining than SMC, although SMC expression decreased with culture. The uninjured rat aorta also showed widespread expression of NDST-1. After balloon de-endothelialisation, NDST-1 could not be detected in SMC of the neointima in the early stages of neointimal formation, but was re-expressed at later time points (after 12 weeks). In human coronary arteries, SMC of the media and the diffuse intimal thickening expressed NDST-1, while SMC in the atherosclerotic plaque were negative for NDST-1. We conclude that SMC may regulate their heparan sulphate sulphation at the level of expression of the enzyme heparan sulphate NDST in a manner related to their phenotypic state.
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