Upon arterial injury, endothelial denudation leads to platelet activation and delivery of multiple agents (e.g., TXA2, PDGF), promoting VSMC dedifferentiation and proliferation (intimal hyperplasia) during injury repair. The process of resolution of vessel injury repair, and prevention of excessive repair (switching VSMCs back to a differentiated quiescent state), is poorly understood. We now report that internalization of APs by VSMCs promotes resolution of arterial injury by switching on VSMC quiescence. Ex vivo and in vivo studies using lineage tracing reporter mice (PF4-cre × mT/mG) demonstrated uptake of GFP-labeled platelets (mG) by mTomato red–labeled VSMCs (mT) upon arterial wire injury. Genome-wide miRNA sequencing of VSMCs cocultured with APs identified significant increases in platelet-derived miR-223. miR-223 appears to directly target PDGFRβ (in VSMCs), reversing the injury-induced dedifferentiation. Upon arterial injury, platelet miR-223–KO mice exhibited increased intimal hyperplasia, whereas miR-223 mimics reduced intimal hyperplasia. Diabetic mice with reduced expression of miR-223 exhibited enhanced VSMC dedifferentiation and proliferation and increased intimal hyperplasia. Our results suggest that horizontal transfer of platelet-derived miRNAs into VSMCs provides a novel mechanism for regulating VSMC phenotypic switching. Platelets thus play a dual role in vascular injury repair, initiating an immediate repair process and, concurrently, a delayed process to prevent excessive repair.


Zhi Zeng, Luoxing Xia, Xuejiao Fan, Allison C. Ostriker, Timur Yarovinsky, Meiling Su, Yuan Zhang, Xiangwen Peng, Yi Xie, Lei Pi, Xiaoqiong Gu, Sookja Kim Chung, Kathleen A. Martin, Renjing Liu, John Hwa, Wai Ho Tang


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