The migration of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) is known to be a key process in the development of a number of vascular lesions, although the precise mechanisms involved have still to be elucidated. In the present study, the production of endogenous fibronectins by VSMC migrating across intact and matrix-metalloproteinase-degraded collagen type I has been explored. Cellular fibronectin seems to play a role in the enhanced migration seen when VSMC are exposed to degraded collagen and platelet-derived growth factor-BB. VSMC were found to synthesize both exon IIIA-containing fibronectin (which predominated) and exon IIIB-containing fibronectin. When these cells were exposed to substrates consisting of recombinant exon IIIA-or exon IIIB-containing fibronectin, rates of migration were not elevated above those seen with undegraded collagen. Endogenous fibronectin production may thus be necessary, but not sufficient, for VSMC migration over degraded collagenous substrates.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.