Early effects of arterial hemodynamic conditions on human saphenous veins perfused ex vivo

Kreton Mavromatis, Tohru Fukai, Matthew Tate, Naomi Chesler, David N. Ku, Zorina S. Galis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Exposure to the arterial hemodynamic environment is thought to be a potential trigger for the pathological remodeling of saphenous vein grafts. Using matched pairs of freshly isolated human saphenous vein, we analyzed the early effects of ex vivo hemodynamic conditions mimicking the venous (native) compared with arterial (graft) environment on the key components of vascular remodeling, ie, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 and MMP-2 and cell proliferation. Interestingly, we found that arterial conditions halved latent MMP-9 (50±11%, P=0.01) and MMP-2 (44±6%, P=0.005) levels relative to matched Vein pairs maintained ex vivo under venous perfusion for up to 3 days. Immunostaining supported decreased MMP levels in the innermost area of arterially perfused veins. Either decreased synthesis or increased posttranslational processing may decrease MMP zymogen levels. Biosynthetic radiolabeling showed that arterial perfusion actually increased MMP-9 and MMP-2 production. When we then examined potential pathways for MMP zymogen processing, we found that arterial conditions did not affect the expression of MT-MMP-1, a cell-associated MMP activator, but that they significantly increased the levels of superoxide, another MMP activator, suggesting redox-dependent MMP processing. Additional experiments indicated that increased superoxide under arterial conditions was due to diminished scavenging by decreased extracellular superoxide dismutase. Arterial perfusion also stimulated cell proliferation (by 220% to 750%) in the majority of vein segments investigated. Our observations support the hypothesis that arterial hemodynamic conditions stimulate early Vein graft remodeling. Furthermore, physiological arterial flow may work to prevent pathological remodeling, particularly the formation of intimal hyperplasia, through rapid inactivation of secreted MMPs and, possibly, through preferential stimulation of cell proliferation in the outer layers of the vein wall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1889-1895
Number of pages7
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Extracellular superoxide dismutase
  • Hemodynamics
  • Matrix metalloproteinase
  • Redox
  • Vein graft remodeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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