Inhibition of collagen synthesis, smooth muscle cell proliferation, and injury-induced intimal hyperplasia by halofuginone

Arnon Nagler, Hua Quan Miao, Helena Aingorn, Mark Pines, Olga Genina, Israel Vlodavsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) components within the arterial wall in response to local injury are important etiologic factors in vascular proliferative disorders such as arteriosclerosis and restenosis after angioplasty. Fibrillar and nonfibrillar collagens are major constituents of the ECM that modulate cell shape and proliferative responses and thereby contribute to the pathogenesis of intimal hyperplasia. Halofuginone, an anticoccidial quinoazolinone derivative, inhibits collagen type I gene expression. We investigated the effect of halofuginone on (1) proliferation of bovine aortic endothelial cells and SMCs derived from the same specimen and maintained in vitro, (2) ECM deposition and collagen type I synthesis and gene expression, and (3) injury-induced intimal hyperplasia in vivo. DNA synthesis and proliferation of vascular SMCs in response to serum or basic fibroblast growth factor were abrogated in the presence of as little as 0.1 μg/mL halofuginone; this inhibition was reversible upon removal of the compound. Under the same conditions, halofuginone exerted a relatively small antiproliferative effect on the respective vascular endothelial cells. Halofuginone also inhibited the synthesis and deposition of ECM components by vascular SMCs as indicated both by a substantial reduction in the amount of sulfated proteoglycans and collagen type I synthesis and gene expression. Local administration of halofuginone in the rabbit ear model of crush injury- induced arterial intimal hyperplasia resulted in a 50% reduction in intimal thickening as measured by a morphometric analysis of the neointima/media ratio. The differential inhibitory effect of halofuginone on vascular SMCs versus endothelial cells, its inhibition of ECM deposition and collagen type I synthesis, and its ability to attenuate injury-induced intimal hyperplasia may place halofuginone alone or in combination with other antiproliferative compounds as a potential candidate for prevention of arterial stenosis and accelerated atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-202
Number of pages9
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • collagen type I
  • extracellular matrix
  • fibroblast growth factor
  • intimal proliferation
  • vascular smooth muscle cell


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