Human saphenous vein (HSV) is harvested and prepared prior to implantation as an arterial bypass graft. Injury and the response to injury from surgical harvest and preparation trigger cascades of molecular events and contribute to graft remodeling and intimal hyperplasia. Apoptosis is an early response after implantation that contributes the development of neointimal lesions. Here, we showed that surgical harvest and preparation of HSV leads to vasomotor dysfunction, increased apoptosis and downregulation of the phosphorylation of the anti-apoptotic protein, Niban. A model of subfailure overstretch injury in rat aorta (RA) was used to demonstrate impaired vasomotor function, increased extracellular ATP (eATP) release, and increased apoptosis following pathological vascular injury. The subfailure overstretch injury was associated with activation of p38 MAPK stress pathway and decreases in the phosphorylation of the anti-apoptotic protein Niban. Treatment of RA after overstretch injury with antagonists to purinergic P2X7 receptor (P2X7R) antagonists or P2X7R/pannexin (PanX1) complex, but not PanX1 alone, restored vasomotor function. Inhibitors to P2X7R and PanX1 reduced stretch-induced eATP release. P2X7R/PanX1 antagonism led to decrease in p38 MAPK phosphorylation, restoration of Niban phosphorylation and increases in the phosphorylation of the anti-apoptotic protein Akt in RA and reduced TNFα-stimulated caspase 3/7 activity in cultured rat vascular smooth muscle cells. In conclusion, inhibition of P2X7R after overstretch injury restored vasomotor function and inhibited apoptosis. Treatment with P2X7R/PanX1 complex inhibitors after harvest and preparation injury of blood vessels used for bypass conduits may prevent the subsequent response to injury that lead to apoptosis and represents a novel therapeutic approach to prevent graft failure.