This study was designed to investigate the mechanisms involved in fibromusculoelastic lesion formation produced by selective de-endothelialization by the intra-arterial balloon catheter technique in thrombocytopenic rabbits. Thrombocytopenia was induced and maintained for up to 30 days by daily injections fo highly specific sheep anti-rabbit platelet sera (APS). Evidence for re-endothelialization was obtained by i.v. Evans blue dye 30 min before sacrifice. Rabbits received daily injections of APS, which reduced the mean platelet count to 5,600/cm3; control animals received identically treated normal sheep sera on the same schedule, and had mean daily platelet counts of 363,000/cm3. Evaluation of intimal thickness was assessed by counting cell layers in semithin sections. Intimal thickening in aortae from rabbits treated with APS was strikingly suppressed, in contrast to those from normal sheep sera-treated animals which showed a mean intimal thickness of 18 cell layers within 28 days often after de-endothelialization. Re-endothelialization was not affected by APS treatment. These results indicate that the proliferation of smooth muscle cells is dramatically inhibited by reduction of platelets.


R J Friedman, M B Stemerman, B Wenz, S Moore, J Gauldie, M Gent, M L Tiell, H Spaet


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