BACKGROUND - Human saphenous vein (HSV) is the autologous conduit of choice for peripheral vascular reconstructions. However, vasospasm can lead to early graft failure. The leading cause of delayed graft failure is intimal hyperplasia.
OBJECTIVE - To develop a proteomic approach to prevent vein-graft spasm and intimal hyperplasia.
METHODS - Biomimetic peptide analogs of the small heat shock-related protein HSP20, containing a protein transduction domain (PTD), a phosphorylated serine, and a sequence of HSP20 surrounding the phosphorylation site (PTD-pHSP20), or a scrambled sequence of the same amino acids surrounding the phosphorylation site (PTD-scHSP20) were synthesized. The peptides were used in muscle bath and organ culture experiments with human saphenous vein (HSV) segments. Cultured smooth muscle cell lines were used to determine the effect of the peptides on proliferation and migration.
RESULTS - In HSV rings precontracted with norepinephrine, PTD-pHSP20 but not PTD-scHSP20 led to relaxation. There was no significant difference in smooth muscle cell proliferation in cells treated with PTD-pHSP20 compared with PTD-scHSP20. Treatment with PTD-pHSP20 significantly inhibited cellular migration compared with PTD-scHSP20. Control, untreated, and PTD-scHSP20-treated saphenous veins had significant increases in intimal thickness after culture. This intimal thickening was completely inhibited by treatment with PTD-pHSP20.
CONCLUSIONS - Protein transduction of biologically active motifs of HSP20 can affect pathologic and physiologic responses of HSV and represents a novel proteomic-based therapeutic approach.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE - We have been a part of the genomics era and are now viewing the emergence of "proteomics." The genome is linear and relatively easy to examine; however the proteome is much more complex and dynamic. In essence, the purpose of gene therapy is to manipulate the genome to produce a particular protein. This manuscript describes a new proteomic approach in which the biologically active part of a protein is directly introduced into vascular cells. Peptides were synthesized which contained a total of 24 amino acids, 11 of which represent a protein transduction domain or "carrier" while the other 13 are the biologically active "cargo." These synthetic peptides prevent spasm (contraction) and intimal hyperplasia in segments of human saphenous vein treated ex vivo. Preclinical development is currently underway to develop these molecules as a proteomic-based vein harvest solution to enhance vein-graft patency.