Cyclic stretch induces vascular smooth muscle cell alignment via NO signaling

Paul R. Standley, Antonino Camaratta, Brian P. Nolan, Christian T. Purgason, Melinda A. Stanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


We investigated the effects of cyclic stretch on vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) alignment and potential overlap of signaling modalities with stretch-induced proliferation. VSMC were subjected to graded stretch (1 Hz at 100-124% of resting length) for 48 h. Graded stretch resulted in graded VSMC alignment from a minimum of completely random orientation to a maximum of ∼80-85° to the stretch vector. Alignment was reversible within 48 h of stretch cessation and independent of signaling modalities mediating stretch-induced proliferation: modulation of IGF-1, MAPK, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, tyrosine kinase, and stretch-activated calcium channels did not affect alignment. Nitric oxide (NO) synthase (NOS) blockade uncoupled alignment. Neither the NO donor, cytokine-induced NOS activity, nor L-citrulline affected alignment, but inhibited VSMC proliferation. Therefore, stretch-induced proliferation and alignment are differentially regulated, with NO a common signaling molecule for both. Targeting NOS in states such as restenosis and hypertension may prove to be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1907-H1914
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5 52-5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002


  • Cellular alignment
  • Migration
  • Nitric oxide
  • Strain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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