Oxidized low-density lipoprotein induces cytoskeletal disorganization in smooth muscle cells

Hamid Massaeli, Cecilia Hurtado, J. Alejandro Austria, Grant N. Pierce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


Vascular smooth muscle cells in atherosclerotic vessels proliferate and change from a contractile to a synthetic phenotype. To determine whether oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) is involved in this transformation, we chronically incubated cultured smooth muscle cells with native and oxidized LDL. Western blot analysis detected a decrease in actin and myosin content in treated cells. This was dependent on the time and concentration of oxLDL employed. Confocal microscopic images of cells immunostained for smooth muscle-specific α-actin and myosin showed a normal, elongated alignment of myofilaments in cells after incubation with native LDL. Surprisingly, when the cells were treated with oxLDL, actin and myosin filaments underwent a striking process of disorganization and accumulation into ball-shaped aggregates. These changes were dependent on the duration and concentration of oxLDL employed. Our results demonstrate that oxLDL has the capacity to decrease the content of myofilaments in smooth muscle cells. The loss in myosin and actin protein may be associated with an unusual formation of large cellular aggregates that appear to be in the process of being expelled from the cell.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5 46-5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 1999
Externally publishedYes



  • Actin
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Contractile proteins
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Myosin
  • Smooth muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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