Effect of heparin on vascular smooth muscle cells. II. Specific protein synthesis

David L. Cochran, John J. Castellot, Morris J. Karnovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Heparin suppresses the proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells both in vivo and in vitro. The mechanism of action of the antiproliferative activity of heparin is not known. We have detected differences in the synthesis of specific proteins when vascular smooth muscle cells are exposed to heparin and report here that many characteristics of these protein alterations parallel the properties of the antiproliferative activity. The induction into the culture medium of a pair of proteins of approximately 35,000 dalton mw in heparintreated smooth muscle cell cultures and the antiproliferative effect of heparin share the following characteristics: 1) the effect is reversible, 2) the effect is specific for smooth muscle cells, 3) anticoagulant and non‐anticoagulant heparin are equally effective, 4) the effect is lost with time in culture and, 5) thermore, heparin causes a transient suppression of a 48,000 dalton substrateattached protein, whereas chondroitin sulfate A and C and dermatan sulfate had much less effect. Dextran sulfate was almost as effective as heparin in suppressing the synthesis of the substrate‐attached protein. These proteins appear to be noncollagenous and the induced synthesis of the 35,000 dalton proteins is inhibited by actinomycin D. Although a direct relationship between these specific protein changes and the antiproliferative effect of heparin has not been proven, these protein alterations may play a crucial role in the effect of heparin on smooth muscle cell growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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