Smooth Muscle Cells Influence Monocyte Response to LDL as well as Their Adhesion and Transmigration in a Coculture Model of the Arterial Wall

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We investigated the possible interference of smooth muscle cells with monocyte response to LDL as well as with their adhesion and transmigration in a coculture of porcine endothelial and smooth muscle cells. Lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC), a component of oxidized LDL (oxLDL), stimulated the adhesion of THP-1 cells to endothelial cells both in mono- and in coculture with smooth muscle cells. When THP-1 cells were incubated with endothelial cells in the presence of copper oxLDL, their adhesion was increased, but only in coculture. The addition of sodium nitroprusside (SNP) together with oxLDL markedly increased the adhesion of THP-1 cells in coculture. Close proximity between endothelial and smooth muscle cells was necessary to observe that effect. Furthermore, this increase in adhesion of THP-1 cells can, at least in part, be attributed to the augmented production of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) observed in coculture under the influence of oxLDL and SNP. The passage of THP-1 cells through the coculture was stimulated by MCP-1 and LPC. These results show that physical contacts or close proximity between endothelial and smooth muscle cells play a key role in the adhesion of monocytes and their infiltration into the intima in response to oxLDL.

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