The physiological and pathological roles of hydrogen sulfide (H(2)S) in the regulation of cardiovacular functions have been recognized. Vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) express cystathionine gamma-lyase (CSE) and produce significant amount of H(2)S. Although growing evidence demonstated the anti-atherosclerotic effect of H(2)S, less is known about the contribution of the endogenous CSE/H(2)S pathway to the development of vascular remodeling. This study investigated the roles of the CSE/H(2)S pathway on SMC migration and neoimtimal formation by using CSE knockout (KO) mice. SMCs and aortic explants isolated from CSE KO mice exhibited more migration and outgrowth compared with that from wild-type (WT) mice, and exogenously applied NaHS (a H(2)S donor) at 100 μM significantly inhibited SMC migration and outgrowth. SMCs became more elongated and spread in the absence of CSE, and fibronectin significantly stimulated adhesion and migration of SMCs from CSE KO mice (KO-SMCs) in comparison with SMCs from WT mice (WT-SMCs). The expressions of α5- and β1-integrins were significantly higher in KO-SMCs, and functional blocking of α5β1-integrin effectively abrogated KO-SMC migration. CSE deficiency also enhanced matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) expression, and the selective blocking of MMP-2 decreased KO-SMC migration. NaHS treatment decreased both the expressions of α5- and β1-integrins and MMP-2. We further found that the expressions of α5- and β1-integrins as well as MMP-2, were stimulated by fibronectin, and that the blockage of α5β1-integrin reduced but overexpression of α5β1-integrin induced MMP-2 expression in both WT-SMCs and KO-SMCs. We also noticed that CSE deficiency in mice led to increased neointima formation in carotid arteries 4 weeks after ligation, which were attenuated by NaHS administration. In conclusion, inhibition of SMC migration by H(2)S may be a novel target for the treatment of vascular occlusive disorder.
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