Histidine-rich glycoprotein (HRGP), an alpha-glycoprotein in human plasma that is also present in platelets and macrophages, binds heparin with high affinity and neutralizes its anticoagulant activity. We now report that HRGP specifically inhibits the antiproliferative effect of heparin on arterial smooth muscle cells while other heparinoid-binding proteins do not influence mitogenesis. The multicellular inflammatory response to endothelial injury characterized, in part, by the influx of platelets and macrophages, may be associated with HRGP release into the arterial microenvironment. This release of HRGP may allow smooth muscle cell proliferation and atherogenesis by inhibiting the action of endothelial cell-derived heparinoid substances.

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