Inhibition by leukocyte depletion of neointima formation after balloon angioplasty in a rabbit model of restenosis

Miller, Ashley M. and McPhaden, Allan R. and Wadsworth, R.M. and Wainwright, C.L. (2001) Inhibition by leukocyte depletion of neointima formation after balloon angioplasty in a rabbit model of restenosis. Cardiovascular Research, 49 (4). pp. 838-850. ISSN 0008-6363 (

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Objective: The aim of the current study was to examine neointima formation in balloon injured left subclavian artery of rabbits subjected to two different methods of leukocyte depletion at the time of injury. Methods: Angioplasty of the left subclavian artery was performed in leukopenic male New Zealand White rabbits. Depletion of circulating leukocytes was induced by either mustine hydrochloride or an antibody against leukocyte common antigen (anti-LCA) before angioplasty. Left and right subclavian arteries were removed 28 days after injury for morphological analysis and measurement of neointimal size. At the same time, leukocytes were isolated from autologous rabbit blood for Cr-51-labelling for assessment of leukocyte adhesion to injured and non-injured artery segments. Results: Leukopenia decreased neointima formation in injured arteries (neointimal area was 0.09+/-0.03 mm(2) in mustine-treated arteries, n=8, vs. 0.56+/-0.07 mm(2) in control arteries, n=7; P<0.001 and 0.07+/-0.01 mm(2) in anti-LCA treated arteries, n=9, vs. 0.22+/-0.04 mm2 in non immune serum-treated arteries, n=9; P<0.001). Adventitial fibrosis was also significantly (P<0.05) decreased by both leukopenic interventions. Neither medial nor adventitial area was modified in any of the groups. No differences in leukocyte adhesion were observed between injured and non-injured arteries in any of the experimental groups at the 28 day time point. Conclusion: These results suggest that leukocytes play a major role in the development of two of the major characteristics of the response to balloon injury, namely formation of neointima and adventitial fibrosis, that currently limit the success of clinical angioplasty. Elucidation of the fine mechanisms involved in leukocyte-mediated injury may lead to the discovery of novel therapeutic targets for the prevention of restenosis.