OBJECTIVE - Osteopontin (OPN) is a highly phosphorylated extracellular matrix glycoprotein that is involved in a diversity of biological processes. In the vascular wall, OPN is produced by monocytes/macrophages, endothelial cells, and smooth muscle cells, and it is thought to mediate adhesion, migration, and survival of these cell types. In this study, we hypothesized that OPN plays a critical role in recovery from limb ischemia.
METHODS AND RESULTS - We induced hind limb ischemia in wild-type and OPN-/- mice. OPN-/- mice exhibited significantly delayed recovery of ischemic foot perfusion as determined by LDPI, impaired collateral vessel formation as measured using micro-CT, and diminished functional capacity of the ischemic limb. In the aortic ring assay, normal endothelial cell sprouting was found in OPN-/- mice. However, OPN-/- peritoneal monocytes/macrophages were found to possess significantly reduced migration in response to chemoattraction.
CONCLUSIONS - This study provides evidence that a definitive biological role exists for OPN during ischemic limb revascularization, and we have suggested that this may be driven by impaired monocyte/macrophage migration in OPN-/- mice. These findings provide the first in vivo evidence that OPN may be a key regulator in postnatal vascular growth.