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J Biol Chem. 2002 Jan 18;277(3):1924-7. Epub 2001 Nov 12.

Activation of EphB2 and its ligands promotes vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation.

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  • 1Harvard University-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


EphB2 and its ligands regulate interactions between endothelial and mesenchymal cells in developing arteries. In adult arteries, the relationship between smooth muscle cells and overlying intact endothelium is responsible for maintaining the health of the vessel. Heparin inhibits vascular smooth muscle cell growth in culture and intimal hyperplasia following endothelial denudation. Using gene microarrays, we identified the tyrosine kinase receptor EphB2 as being differentially expressed in response to continuous intravenous heparin administration in the rabbit model of arterial injury. EphB2 protein levels increased in cultured bovine vascular smooth muscle cells following serum stimulation and were decreased in a dose-dependent fashion by heparin. Fc chimeras of the binding domain of the EphB2 ligands blocked the formation of the EphB2 ligand-receptor complex and reduced growth of serum-stimulated vascular smooth muscle cells in a dose-dependent fashion. Activation of the ligand by an Fc chimera to EphB2 followed a parabolic dose-response growth curve, indicating growth stimulation until the chimera begins to compete with native receptors. Co-administration of EphB2/Fc chimera with heparin shifted the dose-response curve to the right. These data indicate a possible new route of Heparin's antiproliferative effect and a role of EphB2 and its ligands in vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation.

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