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Vein graft failure is a major limitation of coronary artery and peripheral vascular surgery. Tissue factor (TF), a transmembrane glycoprotein, generates thrombin by initiating the extrinsic coagulation cascade and plays a major role in the response to arterial injury. This study was designed to examine changes in TF protein expression in response to venous bypass grafting. New Zealand White rabbits underwent interposition bypass grafting of the common carotid artery via the ipsilateral external jugular vein. The contralateral control jugular veins (n = 6), early vein grafts (1 or 3 days after grafting, n = 18), and late vein grafts (14 or 28 days after grafting, n = 8) were examined by immunohistochemistry. The presence or absence of TF immunostaining in the intima was assessed in each vessel quadrant. In control veins, intimal TF staining was present in 5 of 24 vessel quadrants. In early vein grafts, TF staining was markedly increased in the intima (72 of 72 quadrants, P < .001 vs control veins), and TF immunostaining colocalized with CD18-positive leukocytes but not with endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells, or RAM11-positive macrophages. In late vein grafts with intimal hyperplasia, TF expression was low or absent in the intima (6 of 32 quadrants, P < .001 vs early vein grafts; P = NS vs control veins), although medial smooth muscle cells expressed TF. Marked changes in TF expression occur in vein grafts. In early vein grafts, TF protein was greatly increased in the intima for at least 3 days and was associated with CD18-positive leukocytes. In late vein grafts with intimal hyperplasia, however, TF protein was not seen in the intima. These findings may have important implications for the development of therapeutic strategies to limit vein graft failure.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol

Publication Date

07/1997

Volume

17

Pages

1313 - 1319

Keywords

Animals, Antigens, CD18, Carotid Arteries, Hyperplasia, Jugular Veins, Rabbits, Thromboplastin, Time Factors, Tunica Intima