1998 Volume 21 Issue 7 Pages 772-774
To determine the existence of the kallikrein-kinin system in vascular wall, the expression of low-molecuar-weith (LMW) kininogen, a precursor protein of kinins, was studied in mouse aortic smooth muscle in vivo or in cultured vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) derived from mouse aorta in vitro. Although LMW-kininogen mRNA was undetectable in aortic smooth muscle of untreated mice using either Northern blotting or reverse transcription-polymerase chain reactions (RT-PCR) followed by Southern blotting, administration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 1 mg/kg, i.v.) induced the expression of LMW-kininogen mRNA at levels detectable by RT-PCR within 12 h. Cultured VSMC not only expressed LMW-kininogen mRNA at levels easily detectable by RT-PCR, but also secreted LMW-kininogen-like protein that was immunoreactive to anti-mouse LMW-kininogen antibody. These results demonstrate that VSMC are a source of LMW-kininogen in the mouse, and suggest the presence of a local kallikrein-kinin system in vascular tissue. LPS-induced up-regulatin of LMW-kininogen expression suggests a role for vascular LMW-kininogen in tissue trauma or inflammation.