ROCK1 mediates leukocyte recruitment and neointima formation following vascular injury.

Vascular Medicine Research Unit, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Journal of Clinical Investigation (Impact Factor: 13.77). 06/2008; 118(5):1632-44. DOI: 10.1172/JCI29226
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Although Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) activity has been implicated in cardiovascular diseases, the tissue- and isoform-specific roles of ROCKs in the vascular response to injury are not known. To address the role of ROCKs in this process, we generated haploinsufficient Rock1 (Rock1(+/-)) and Rock2 (Rock2(+/-)) mice and performed carotid artery ligations. Following this intervention, we found reduced neointima formation in Rock1(+/-) mice compared with that of WT or Rock2(+/-) mice. This correlated with decreased vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and survival, decreased levels proinflammatory adhesion molecule expression, and reduced leukocyte infiltration. In addition, thioglycollate-induced peritoneal leukocyte recruitment and accumulation were substantially reduced in Rock1(+/-) mice compared with those of WT and Rock2(+/-) mice. To determine the role of leukocyte-derived ROCK1 in neointima formation, we performed reciprocal bone marrow transplantation (BMT) in WT and Rock1(+/-) mice. Rock1(+/-) to WT BMT led to reduced neointima formation and leukocyte infiltration following carotid ligation compared with those of WT to WT BMT. In contrast, WT to Rock1(+/-) BMT resulted in increased neointima formation. These findings indicate that ROCK1 in BM-derived cells mediates neointima formation following vascular injury and suggest that ROCK1 may represent a promising therapeutic target in vascular inflammatory diseases.