Expression of B-type receptors for platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) in frozen sections of blood vessels from tissues affected by abnormal vascular cell proliferation was investigated by immunohistochemical techniques and compared with expression of these receptors in blood vessels of normal tissues. Receptors were not expressed, or expressed at low levels, in vessels of normal tissues. In contrast, a pronounced expression of PDGF B-type receptors was seen on vascular smooth muscle cells in atherosclerotic plaques, rejected kidneys, and chronic synovitis. These observations suggest induction of PDGF B-type receptors on vascular smooth muscle cells in inflamed tissues, which would render such cells responsive to growth stimulation by PDGF released from captured platelets, or produced locally (eg, by inflammatory cells or smooth muscle cells). Autocrine or paracrine stimulation of cell growth caused by the effect of PDGF on cells with induced receptors may be important in the formation of the proliferative lesions found in atherosclerosis and in certain forms of chronic inflammation.
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