Notch2 and Proteomic Signatures in Mouse Neointimal Lesion FormationHighlights [Basic Sciences]

Objective—Vascular remodeling is associated with complex molecular changes, including increased Notch2, which promotes quiescence in human smooth muscle cells. We used unbiased protein profiling to understand molecular signatures related to neointimal lesion formation in the presence or absence of Notch2 and to test the hypothesis that loss of Notch2 would increase neointimal lesion formation because of a hyperproliferative injury response.Approach and Results—Murine carotid arteries isolated at 6 or 14 days after ligation injury were analyzed by mass spectrometry using a data-independent acquisition strategy in comparison to uninjured or sham injured arteries. We used a tamoxifen-inducible, cell-specific Cre recombinase strain to delete the Notch2 gene in smooth muscle cells. Vessel morphometric analysis and immunohistochemical staining were used to characterize lesion formation, assess vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, and validate proteomic findings. Loss of Notch2 in smooth muscle cells leads to protein profile changes in the vessel wall during remodeling but does not alter overall lesion morphology or cell proliferation. Loss of smooth muscle Notch2 also decreases the expression of enhancer of rudimentary homolog, plectin, and annexin A2 in vascular remodeling.Conclusions—We identified unique protein signatures that represent temporal changes in the vessel wall during neointimal lesion formation in the presence and absence of Notch2. Overall lesion formation was not affected with loss of smooth muscle Notch2, suggesting compensatory pathways. We also validated the regulation of known injury- or Notch-related targets identified in other vascular contexts, providing additional insight into conserved pathways involved in vascular remodeling.

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