Hyaluronan and versican-rich pericellular matrices form around arterial smooth muscle cells (ASMC) preferentially during the detachment phase of proliferation and migration. PDGF is a potent mitogen and chemotactic agent for ASMC and also stimulates the production of extracellular matrix molecules which may regulate the proliferative and migratory capacity of the cells. We have examined the effect of PDGF on the formation of hyaluronan-dependent pericellular matrices, and on the synthesis and interaction of several major pericellular coat constituents. As demonstrated using a particle exclusion assay, PDGF stimulated the formation of pericellular matrices and was seen both in an increased proportion of cells with a coat and a greater coat size. This increase was accompanied by a transient increase in hyaluronan synthase 2 (HAS2) expression and an increase in hyaluronan synthesis and polymer length. PDGF also increased the synthesis of versican and link protein as measured at the mRNA and protein levels. The amount of native versican-hyaluronan aggregates and link-stabilized aggregate was also increased following PDGF treatment. Time lapse imaging showed that pericellular matrix formation occurred around trailing cell processes prior to their detachment. These data suggest that PDGF modulates the synthesis and organization of ASMC pericellular coat-forming molecules such as versican, hyaluronan, and link protein, which leads to extracellular matrix expansion and alterations in ASMC phenotype.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.