Background/Aims: Arteries and veins modulate cardiovascular homeostasis and contribute to hypertension pathogenesis. Functional differences between arteries and veins are based upon differences in gene expression. To better characterize these expression patterns, and to identify candidate genes that could be manipulated selectively in the venous system, we performed whole genome expression profiling of arteries and veins. Methods: We used the CodeLink platform and the major artery (thoracic aorta) and vein (caudal vena cava) of the rat. Results: The most prominent difference was pancreatitis-associated protein (PAP1), expressed 64-fold higher in vena cava versus aorta. Expression of mRNA for thrombospondins (TSP-1, TSP-4) was greater than 5-fold higher in veins versus arteries. Higher mRNA expression of TSP-1, TSP-2, TSP-4 and PAP1 in vena cava versus aorta was confirmed by PCR. Immunohistochemical analysis of tissue sections qualitatively confirmed a higher expression of these proteins in vena cava versus aorta. Conclusion: This is the first gene array study of adult rat arterial and venous tissues, and also the first study to report differences in inflammatory genes between arteries and veins. Data from these studies may provide novel insights into the genetic basis for functional differences between arteries and veins in health and disease.

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