Restenosis is a reparative response to arterial injury occurring with percutaneous coronary revascularization. However, the quantitative characteristics of the relation between vessel injury and the magnitude of restenotic response remain unknown. This study was thus performed to determine the relation between severity of vessel wall injury and the thickness of resulting neointimal proliferation in a porcine model of coronary restenosis. Twenty-six porcine coronary artery segments in 24 pigs were subjected to deep arterial injury with use of overexpanded, percutaneously delivered tantalum wire coils. The vessels were studied microscopically 4 weeks after coil implantation to measure the relation between the extent of injury and the resulting neointimal thickness. For each wire site, a histopathologic score proportional to injury depth and the neointimal thicknesses at that site were determined. Mean injury scores were compared with both mean neointimal thickness and planimetry-derived area percent lumen stenosis. The severity of vessel injury strongly correlated with neointimal thickness and percent diameter stenosis (p less than 0.001). Neointimal proliferation resulting from a given wire was related to injury severity in adjacent wires, suggesting an interaction among effects at injured sites. If the results in this model apply to human coronary arteries, restenosis may depend on the degree of vessel injury sustained during angioplasty.