Reduction of intimal hyperplasia and enhanced reactivity of experimental vein bypass grafts with verapamil treatment.
Recent studies have shown that calcium antagonists exert an antiatherogenic effect in animals fed cholesterol. Vein graft intimal hyperplasia is believed to be an early event in atherosclerotic lesion formation, which is a significant cause of graft failure. Altered vasoreactivity has also been postulated in the etiology of vein graft failure. Therefore this study examined the effect of verapamil treatment on the development of intimal hyperplasia and the vasoreactivity of experimental vein bypass grafts. The right external jugular vein was grafted into the right carotid artery of 30 male New Zealand white rabbits fed normal rabbit chow. The left external jugular vein was used as the control vein. Fifteen animals received verapamil (1.25 mg/day for 28 days) via the femoral vein by means of an osmotic pump. In 15 control animals the pump contained saline. Plasma verapamil concentration was 50.9 +/- 13.2 ng/mL (x +/- SEM), a dose that showed no effect on either blood pressure, total serum cholesterol, or in vitro platelet aggregation to ADP. Fourteen of fifteen grafts were patent in each group, for a patency rate of 93%. Histologic examination using computer morphometry showed significant reduction of intimal hyperplasia at the proximal, middle, and distal graft segments (p less than 0.05). In addition in vitro isometric tension studies of the vein grafts and control veins showed that verapamil causes enhanced reactivity of both vein grafts and control veins in response to norepinephrine and histamine (p less than 0.05). Reactivity of vein grafts to serotonin was unaltered. While none of the normal veins in the control group responded to serotonin, normal veins treated with verapamil contracted readily in response to serotonin. Endothelial-dependent relaxation to acetylcholine was absent in both control and verapamil-treated vein grafts, while normal veins from both groups responded to the same extent to acetylcholine. Because we could not demonstrate any difference in platelet or endothelium function between untreated and verapamil-treated animals, we examined the direct effect of verapamil on smooth muscle. Verapamil significantly inhibited [3H]-thymidine incorporation into DNA in vascular smooth muscle cells in culture in a dose-dependent manner. Verapamil treatment significantly reduces intimal hyperplasia in experimental vein grafts and inhibits smooth muscle cell proliferation in culture. Furthermore the enhanced reactivity to norepinephrine and histamine in the verapamil-treated vessels has no detrimental effect on the patency rate at 4 weeks. Thus by inhibiting intimal hyperplasia, calcium antagonists may improve the long-term patency of vein bypass grafts.
el-Sanadiki, MN; Cross, KS; Murray, JJ; Schuman, RW; Mikat, E; McCann, RL; Hagen, PO
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