Elastin variations implicating in vascular smooth muscle cells phenotype in human tortuous arteries


  • Pedro Pablo Ortiz Remacha
  • R. Sarrat
  • D. Dare
  • J. Whyte
  • A. Torres
  • J. M. Daniel Lamazière


elastin, vascular smooth muscle cells, arterial thickening, arterial tortuosity


The aim of the present work was to study the morphological implications between the elastin and the phenotypic expression of the vascular smooth muscle cells. For this purpose, sixty human tortuous arteries from different territories have been studied. We have measured the morphometric indexes Intimal Thickening Index and Elastolyse Index and they have been quantified with computer system analysis, image-colour corresponding to the orcein and Verhoeff reactions for detecting elastin and the a-actin in the smooth muscle cells. We compared both territorial arteries from the cranial and from abdominal origin. The elastin concentration was similar in both territories, but not its morphology according to its spatial distribution. We have observed a relationship between the elastin structural organisation from the media of arteries and of the internal elastic lamina in these territories and the variation of reactivity to the smooth muscle a-actin as a marker of the phenotypic state.

Our results confirm the hypothesis that elastin, besides intervening in the architecture of the arterial wall, is a factor implicated in the phenotypic variability of the smooth muscle cells and in the development and evolution of the intimal thickenings in human atherosclerosis.