Background. Intimal hyperplasia remains the leading cause of vein graff failure. Various external stenting devices have been shown to reduce the development of intimal hyperplasia in vein grafts. Mitogenic and mechanotransduction signals are known to be mediated by G protein-coupled receptors. Therefore in this study we examined the alterations in G protein expression and receptor coupling in vein grafts stented with external tube support. Methods. Thirty New Zealand White male rabbits had a right carotid interposition bypass graff with use of the ipsilateral jugular vein. Fifteen animals received external support and 15 were controls. In a subset the animals either had removal of the external support or a sham-control neck exploration at 14 days after the initial implantation (n = 5 per group). Results. External support reduced G(αi3) proteins by 30% in vein grafts without changes in Gas by Western blot. Vein grafts with external support were significantly less sensitive to pertussis toxin inactivation than controls were in response to both norepinephrine and serotonin. A 24% decrease in intimal thickness was maintained after withdrawal of the initial external support. Conclusions. The placement of an external support is associated with alterations in G protein expression and receptor coupling function in vein grafts. The results of this study suggest that the development of vein graff intimal hyperplasia may involve G protein-mediated events.
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