We recently purified and cloned a new protein that stimulates the synthesis of prostacyclin (PGI2) by the vascular endothelial cells (ECs). We have termed this protein “PGI2-stimulating factor” (PSF). The present study evaluated the expression of PSF mRNA in tissues of Wistar rats, including the kidneys of rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes, and in cultured cells. Furthermore, we evaluated the presence of PSF in human sera and the immunohistochemical localization of PSF in tissues of patients obtained at autopsy. The latter included a coronary atherosclerotic lesion of a patient who died of acute myocardial infarction. PSF was observed by Northern blot analysis to be expressed in all rat tissues examined (brain, lung, liver, kidney, skeletal muscle, and fat tissue) and was expressed in cultured vascular ECs, smooth muscle cells (SMCs), and flbroblast cells (FCs). A decreased expression of PSF was observed in the kidneys of diabetic rats versus those of normal rats. The presence of PSF in human serum was confirmed by Western blot analysis. In humans, PSF was mainly localized in vascular ECs and SMCs of arterial media and in SMCs of bronchi. Reduced staining for PSF was found in an atherosclerotic versus a normal coronary artery of humans. PSF may be involved in the production of PGI2 in the vessel wall and may participate in the maintenance of vascular homeostasis. PSF abnormalities may be involved in the development of such vascular lesions as atherosclerosis and diabetic angiopathy.

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