Macrophage-derived IL-18 and increased fibrinogen deposition are age-related inflammatory signatures of vascular remodeling

Luis Rodriguez-Menocal, Mohd Hafeez Faridi, Laisel Martinez, Lina A. Shehadeh, Juan C. Duque, Yuntao Wei, Annia Mesa, Angela Pena, Vineet Gupta, Si M. Pham, Roberto I. Vazquez-Padron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aging has been associated with pathological vascular remodeling and increased neointimal hyperplasia. The understanding of how aging exacerbates this process is fundamental to prevent cardiovascular complications in the elderly. This study proposes a mechanism by which aging sustains leukocyte adhesion, vascular inflammation, and increased neointimal thickness after injury. The effect of aging on vascular remodeling was assessed in the rat balloon injury model using microarray analysis, immunohistochemistry, and LINCOplex assays. The injured arteries in aging rats developed thicker neointimas than those in younger animals, and this significantly correlated with a higher number of tissue macrophages and increased vascular IL-18. Indeed, IL-18 was 23-fold more abundant in the injured vasculature of aged animals compared with young rats, while circulating levels were similar in both groups of animals. The depletion of macrophages in aged rats with clodronate liposomes ameliorated vascular accumulation of IL-18 and significantly decreased neointimal formation. IL-18 was found to inhibit apoptosis of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) and macrophages, thus favoring both the formation and inflammation of the neointima. In addition, injured arteries of aged rats accumulated 18-fold more fibrinogen-γ than those of young animals. Incubation of rat peritoneal macrophages with immobilized IL-18 increased leukocyte adhesion to fibrinogen and suggested a proinflammatory positive feedback loop among macrophages, VSMC, and the deposition of fibrinogen during neointimal hyperplasia. In conclusion, our data reveal that concentration changes in vascular cytokine and fibrinogen following injury in aging rats contribute to local inflammation and postinjury neointima formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H641-H653
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Inflammation
  • Neointima
  • Vascular injury
  • Vascular smooth muscle cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Macrophage-derived IL-18 and increased fibrinogen deposition are age-related inflammatory signatures of vascular remodeling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this