To assess elastin biosynthesis in the aortic wall in response to acute elevation of blood pressure, we studied the aortic gene expression of tropoelastin in a rabbit midthoracic aortic coarctation model. The time points of the study were 1, 3, and 7 days and 2, 4, and 8 weeks after coarctation. Additional animals were subjected to hypercholesterolemia for analysis of tropoelastin expression in the intimal lesion. mRNA for tropoelastin was quantitated by Northern blot analysis and its distribution was revealed by in situ hybridization. The 65-kDa tropoelastin was analyzed by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. Tropoelastin mRNA proximal to the coarctation was increased at 2 weeks and returned to baseline by 8 weeks (P < 0.05 versus control). Changes in 65-kDa tropoelastin corresponded to those of mRNA. Tropoelastin gene was expressed mainly in the intima and in the outer media at the proximal region to the stenoses, which was particularly remarkable in the intimal lesion. The results indicate that tropoelastin gene expression was enhanced in the early remodeling response to elevated blood pressure. The distribution of newly synthesized tropoelastin in the outer media suggests a reenforcement role of tropoelastin, which preserves mechanical resiliency in response to changes in tensile stress.