Mechanical strain increases smooth muscle and decreases nonmuscle myosin expression in rat vascular smooth muscle cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • The effect of cyclic (1-Hz) mechanical strain on expression of myosin heavy chain isoforms was examined in neonatal rat vascular smooth muscle cells cultured on silicone elastomer plates. Myosin heavy chain isoforms were identified by immunoblot using antibodies recognizing (1) smooth muscle myosin heavy chain isoforms SM-1 and SM-2, (2) SM-1 exclusively, and (3) nonmuscle myosin heavy chains A and B. In response to 36 to 72 hours of strain, SM-1 and SM-2 increased by fourfold to sixfold, whereas nonmuscle myosin A decreased to 30% of control. Nonmuscle myosin B was unaffected by strain. SM-1 mRNA increased by twofold to threefold after 12 hours of strain but decreased toward control levels thereafter. SM-2 mRNA was only barely detectable. Nonmuscle myosin A mRNA decreased to 50% of control after 3 hours of strain and then returned to the control level. Since these cells secrete platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) in response to strain, we assessed the effects of PDGF on myosin isoform expression. Exogenous PDGF (10 ng/mL) decreased SM-1 expression by 35% and increased nonmuscle myosin expression twofold, opposite the effect of strain. In cells exposed to strain with neutralizing antibodies to PDGF-AB, the strain-induced increase in SM-1 was enhanced 10-fold, and nonmuscle myosin A was reduced to 40% of control. Finally, the effect of extracellular matrix on transduction of the strain signal was studied. Forty-eight hours of cyclic strain increased SM-1 by twofold in cells cultured on collagen type 1 and threefold in cells cultured on laminin. In fibronectin-cultured cells, strain elicited no increase in SM-1. Thus, mechanical strain, sensed through specific interactions with the matrix, can alter myosin isoform expression toward that found in a more differentiated state.

published proceedings

  • Circ Res

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Reusch, P., Wagdy, H., Reusch, R., Wilson, E., & Ives, H. E.

citation count

  • 193

complete list of authors

  • Reusch, P||Wagdy, H||Reusch, R||Wilson, E||Ives, HE

publication date

  • January 1996