AIMS: Graft vascular disease (GVD), a clinically important and highly complex vascular occlusive disease, arises from the interplay of multiple cellular and molecular pathways. While occlusive intimal lesions are composed predominantly of smooth-muscle-like cells (SMLCs), the origin of these cells and the stimuli leading to their accumulation in GVD are uncertain. Macrophages have recently been identified as both potential drivers of intimal hyperplasia and precursors that undergo transdifferentiation to become SMLCs in non-transplant settings. Colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF1) is a well-known regulator of macrophage development and differentiation, and prior preclinical studies have shown that lack of CSF1 limits GVD. We sought to identify the origins of SMLCs and of cells expressing the CSF1 receptor (CSF1R) in GVD, and to test the hypothesis that pharmacologic inhibition of CSF1 signalling would curtail both macrophage and SMLC activities and decrease vascular occlusion. METHODS AND RESULTS: We used genetically modified mice and a vascular transplant model with minor antigen mismatch to assess cell origins. We found that neointimal SMLCs derive from both donor and recipient, and that transdifferentiation of macrophages to SMLC phenotype is minimal in this model. Cells expressing CSF1R in grafts were identified as recipient-derived myeloid cells of Cx3cr1 lineage, and these cells rarely expressed smooth muscle marker proteins. Blockade of CSF1R activity using the tyrosine kinase inhibitor PLX3397 limited the expression of genes associated with innate immunity and decreased levels of circulating monocytes and intimal macrophages. Importantly, PLX3397 attenuated the development of GVD in arterial allografts. CONCLUSION: These studies provide proof of concept for pharmacologic inhibition of the CSF1/CSF1R signalling pathway as a therapeutic strategy in GVD. Further preclinical testing of this pathway in GVD is warranted.
- Graft vascular disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)