OBJECTIVESmooth muscle cell proliferation is a major pathophysiologic factor in injury-induced neointimal hyperplasia and recurrent stenosis. We have demonstrated that recombinant human thrombomodulin (rTM) inhibits thrombin-induced arterial smooth muscle cell proliferation in vitro. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of rTM on neointimal hyperplasia in vivo.METHODSA rabbit femoral artery balloon injury model was used. Bilateral superficial femoral arteries were deendothelialized with a 2F arterial embolectomy catheter. rTM (145 microg/kg; 2.0 microg/mL in circulation) or Tris-hydrochloride vehicle control was administered intravenously during the procedure, then either discontinued (group A) or administered twice daily for an additional 48 hours (group B). Rabbits were euthanized at 4 days and at 1, 2, and 4 weeks, and femoral artery specimens were prepared with in situ perfusion fixation and paraffin embedding. Luminal, intima, media, and whole artery areas were quantitated with digital imaging computerized planimetry. Intima-media and lumen-whole artery ratios were calculated. The injury-induced inflammatory reaction was also evaluated with light microscopy, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, and immunohistochemical and immunohistofluorescence staining.RESULTSIn the buffer control group, neointimal hyperplasia after femoral artery balloon injury was evident at 2 weeks, and was pronounced at 4 weeks (P CONCLUSIONSSystemic intravenous administration of rTM significantly decreases neointimal hyperplasia and improves patency in the rabbit femoral artery after balloon injury. In addition to exhibiting antithrombotic and antiproliferative effects, rTM may also invoke an anti-inflammatory mechanism, and may alter vascular remodeling in a multidimensional role to inhibit recurrent stenosis after arterial injury.