Peg-and-socket junctions between smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells in femoral veins are stimulated to angiogenesis by prostaglandin E₂ and glycerols
Histology and Histopathology
The administration of prostaglandin (PG) E2, triacetylglycerol and glycerol induce the formation of numerous vascular buds arising from the femoral vein, as previously demonstrated by our group. In the present study, a great number of peg-and-socket junctions (PSJs) between smooth muscle cells (SMCs) (providing the pegs) and ECs (forming the sockets) were demonstrated. At the first stage, days 1 to 3, PSJs connect subendothelial penetrating processes from activated SMCs with activated ECs of
... activated ECs of the intima. Subsequently, during angiogenesis (days 4 to 6), SMCs, showing transitional aspects with pericytes, also form PSJs with intimal ECs, but also new PSJs between SMCs and sprouting ECs in the media layer were now observed. Immunohistochemically, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and H-caldesmon are positive in the cytoplasm of the SMCs, showing a higher expression in pegs. Desmin, however, although it is also positive in the cytoplasm of the SMCs, is negative in the pegs. The expression of CD34 in ECs reveals abundant positive folding that appears to correspond to the sockets. The peculiar expression of caldesmon, whose isoforms may contribute to the regulation of cell motility, and to vasculogenesis and angiogenesis, may have a role in the different mechanisms by which PSJs act in the vein wall.