Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is an inheritable myocardial disorder associated with fibrofatty replacement of myocardium and ventricular arrhythmia. A subset of ARVC is categorized as Naxos disease, which is characterized by ARVC and a cutaneous disorder. A homozygous loss-of-function mutation of the Plakoglobin (Jup) gene, which encodes a major component of the desmosome and the adherens junction, had been identified in Naxos patients, although the underlying mechanism remained elusive. We generated Jup mutant mice by ablating Jup in cardiomyocytes. Jup mutant mice largely recapitulated the clinical manifestation of human ARVC: ventricular dilation and aneurysm, cardiac fibrosis, cardiac dysfunction and spontaneous ventricular arrhythmias. Ultra-structural analyses revealed that desmosomes were absent in Jup mutant myocardia, whereas adherens junctions and gap junctions were preserved. We found that ventricular arrhythmias were associated with progressive cardiomyopathy and fibrosis in Jup mutant hearts. Massive cell death contributed to the cardiomyocyte dropout in Jup mutant hearts. Despite the increase of β-catenin at adherens junctions in Jup mutant cardiomyoicytes, the Wnt/β-catenin-mediated signaling was not altered. Transforming growth factor-beta-mediated signaling was found significantly elevated in Jup mutant cardiomyocytes at the early stage of cardiomyopathy, suggesting an important pathogenic pathway for Jup-related ARVC. These findings have provided further insights for the pathogenesis of ARVC and potential therapeutic interventions.
SOX4 is a developmental transcription factor that is required for differentiation and proliferation in multiple tissues. SOX4 is overexpressed in many human malignancies, but the precise role of SOX4 in cancer progression is still not well understood. Thus, the identification of additional SOX4 binding partners is essential for elucidating the mechanism of SOX4-mediated effects in cancer progression.
Here, we have adapted a one-step affinity purification method that enables rapid purification of SOX4 complexes via intracellular biotinylation of the amino-terminus of SOX4 to perform large-scale proteomics analysis. We have discovered that junction plakoglobin (JUP) interacts with SOX4 in both the cytosol and the nucleus and the interaction between SOX4 and plakoglobin is significantly increased when prostate and breast cancer cells are stimulated with WNT3A. Interactions between SOX4 and plakoglobin were further enhanced by the nuclear export inhibitor leptomycin B (LMB), suggesting that plakoglobin promotes nuclear export of SOX4. The SOX4-plakoglobin complex affected the expression of Wnt pathway target genes and SOX4 downstream targets, such as AXIN2, DICER1, and DHX9. In addition, SOX4 DNA binding activity to the promoters of DICER1, AXIN2, DHX9 and SOX4 itself was reduced by conditions that promote SOX4-plakoglobin complex formation. Conditions that enhanced SOX4-plakoglobin interactions resulted in reduced transcriptional activity of β-catenin luciferase reporters.
These data suggest that this newly identified interaction between SOX4 and plakoglobin is inhibitory and provides new insights into the role of SOX4 in key pathways in cell proliferation, development, and cancer progression.
Mutations in the plakoglobin (JUP) gene have been identified in arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) patients. However, the mechanisms underlying plakoglobin dysfunction involved in the pathogenesis of ARVC remain poorly understood. Plakoglobin is a component of both desmosomes and adherens junctions located at the intercalated disc (ICD) of cardiomyocytes, where it functions to link cadherins to the cytoskeleton. In addition, plakoglobin functions as a signaling protein via its ability to modulate the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. To investigate the role of plakoglobin in ARVC, we generated an inducible cardiorestricted knockout (CKO) of the plakoglobin gene in mice. Plakoglobin CKO mice exhibited progressive loss of cardiac myocytes, extensive inflammatory infiltration, fibrous tissue replacement, and cardiac dysfunction similar to those of ARVC patients. Desmosomal proteins from the ICD were decreased, consistent with altered desmosome ultrastructure in plakoglobin CKO hearts. Despite gap junction remodeling, plakoglobin CKO hearts were refractory to induced arrhythmias. Ablation of plakoglobin caused increase β-catenin stabilization associated with activated AKT and inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase 3β. Finally, β-catenin/TCF transcriptional activity may contribute to the cardiac hypertrophy response in plakoglobin CKO mice. This novel model of ARVC demonstrates for the first time how plakoglobin affects β-catenin activity in the heart and its implications for disease pathogenesis.
Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (AC) is characterised by myocardial fibrofatty tissue infiltration and presents with palpitations, ventricular arrhythmias, syncope and sudden cardiac death. AC is associated with mutations in genes encoding the desmosomal proteins plakophilin-2 (PKP2), desmoplakin (DSP), desmoglein-2 (DSG2), desmocollin-2 (DSC2) and junctional plakoglobin (JUP). In the present study we compared 28 studies (2004–2011) on the prevalence of mutations in desmosomal protein encoding genes in relation to geographic distribution of the study population. In most populations, mutations in PKP2 showed the highest prevalence. Mutation prevalence in DSP, DSG2 and DSC2 varied among the different geographic regions. Mutations in JUP were rarely found, except in Denmark and the Greece/Cyprus region.
Cardiomyopathy; Plakophilin-2; Mutation; Desmosome; Prevalence; Geography; Medicine & Public Health; Medicine/Public Health, general
Coronary atherosclerosis, the main condition predisposing to acute myocardial infarction, has an inflammatory component caused by stimuli that are yet unknown. We molecularly investigated the nature of the immune response within human coronary lesion in four coronary plaques obtained by endoluminal atherectomy from four patients. We constructed phage-display libraries containing the IgG1/kappa antibody fragments produced by B-lymphocytes present in each plaque. By immunoaffinity, we selected from these libraries a monoclonal antibody, arbitrarily named Fab7816, able to react both with coronary and carotid atherosclerotic tissue samples. We also demonstrated by confocal microscopy that this monoclonal antibody recognized human transgelin type 1, a cytoskeleton protein involved in atherogenesis, and that it co-localized with fibrocyte-like cells transgelin+, CD68+, CD45+ in human sections of coronary and carotid plaques. In vitro fibrocytes obtained by differentiating CD14+ cells isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells also interacted with Fab7816, thus supporting the hypothesis of a specific recognition of fibrocytes into the atherosclerotic lesions. Interestingly, the same antibody, cross-reacted with the outer membrane proteins of Proteus mirabilis and Klebsiella pneumoniae (and possibly with homologous proteins of other enterobacteriaceae present in the microbiota). From all the other three libraries, we were able to clone, by immunoaffinity selection, human monoclonal antibodies cross-reacting with bacterial outer membrane proteins and with transgelin. These findings demonstrated that in human atherosclerotic plaques a local cross-reactive immune response takes place.
Novel biomarkers, such as circulating (auto)antibody signatures, may improve early detection and treatment of ruptured atherosclerotic lesions and accompanying cardiovascular events, such as myocardial infarction. Using a phage-display library derived from cDNAs preferentially expressed in ruptured peripheral human atherosclerotic plaques, we performed serological antigen selection to isolate displayed cDNA products specifically interacting with antibodies in sera from patients with proven ruptured peripheral atherosclerotic lesions. Two cDNA products were subsequently evaluated on a validation series of patients with peripheral atherosclerotic lesions, healthy controls, and patients with coronary artery disease at different stages. Our biomarker set was able to discriminate between patients with peripheral ruptured lesions and patients with peripheral stable plaques with 100% specificity and 76% sensitivity. Furthermore, 93% of patients with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) tested positive for our biomarkers, whereas all patients with stable angina pectoris tested negative. Moreover, 90% of AMI patients who initially tested negative for troponin T, for which a positive result is known to indicate myocardial infarction, tested positive for our biomarkers upon hospital admission. In conclusion, antibody profiling constitutes a promising approach for noninvasive diagnosis of atherosclerotic lesions, because a positive serum response against a set of 2 cDNA products showed a strong association with the presence of ruptured peripheral atherosclerotic lesions and myocardial infarction.
Cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of mortality in developed countries, is mainly caused by atherosclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disease. Macrophages, which differentiate from monocytes that are recruited from the blood, account for the majority of leukocytes in atherosclerotic plaques. Apoptosis and the suppressed clearance of apoptotic macrophages (efferocytosis) are associated with vulnerable plaques that are prone to rupture, leading to thrombosis. Based on the central functions of macrophages in atherogenesis, cytokines, chemokines, enzymes, or microRNAs related to or produced by macrophages have become important clinical prognostic or diagnostic biomarkers. This paper discusses the impact of monocyte-derived macrophages in early atherogenesis and advanced disease. The role and possible future development of macrophage inflammatory biomarkers are also described.
Arrhythmic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a hereditary heart muscle disease that causes sudden cardiac death (SCD) in young people. Almost half of ARVC patients have a mutation in genes encoding cell adhesion proteins of the desmosome, including plakoglobin (JUP). We previously reported that cardiac tissue-specific plakoglobin (PG) knockout (PG CKO) mice have no apparent conduction abnormality and survive longer than expected. Importantly, the PG homolog, β-catenin (CTNNB1), showed increased association with the gap junction protein connexin43 (Cx43) in PG CKO hearts. To determine whether β-catenin is required to maintain cardiac conduction in the absence of PG, we generated mice lacking both PG and β-catenin specifically in the heart (i.e., double knockout [DKO]). The DKO mice exhibited cardiomyopathy, fibrous tissue replacement, and conduction abnormalities resulting in SCD. Loss of the cadherin linker proteins resulted in dissolution of the intercalated disc (ICD) structure. Moreover, Cx43-containing gap junction plaques were reduced at the ICD, consistent with the arrhythmogenicity of the DKO hearts. Finally, ambulatory electrocardiogram monitoring captured the abrupt onset of spontaneous lethal ventricular arrhythmia in the DKO mice. In conclusion, these studies demonstrate that the N-cadherin-binding partners, PG and β-catenin, are indispensable for maintaining mechanoelectrical coupling in the heart.
Chronic inflammation drives atherosclerosis, the leading cause of cardiovascular disease. Over the past two decades, data have emerged showing that immune cells are involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerotic plaques. The accumulation and continued recruitment of leukocytes are associated with the development of ‘vulnerable’ plaques. These plaques are prone to rupture, leading to thrombosis, myocardial infarction or stroke, all of which are frequent causes of death. Plaque macrophages account for the majority of leukocytes in plaques, and are believed to differentiate from monocytes recruited from circulating blood. However, monocytes represent a heterogenous circulating population of cells. Experiments are needed to address whether monocyte recruitment to plaques and effector functions, such as the formation of foam cells, the production of nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species, and proteolysis are critical for the development and rupture of plaques, and thus for the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis, as well as elucidate the precise mechanisms involved.
Biomarkers provide a powerful approach to understanding the spectrum of cardiovascular diseases. They have application in screening, diagnostic, prognostication, prediction of recurrences and monitoring of therapy. The “omics” tool are becoming very useful in the development of new biomarkers in cardiovascular diseases. Among them, proteomics is especially fitted to look for new proteins in health and disease and is playing a significant role in the development of new diagnostic tools in cardiovascular diagnosis and prognosis. This review provides an overview of progress in applying proteomics to atherosclerosis. First, we describe novel proteins identified analysing atherosclerotic plaques directly. Careful analysis of proteins within the atherosclerotic vascular tissue can provide a repertoire of proteins involved in vascular remodelling and atherogenesis. Second, we discuss recent data concerning proteins secreted by atherosclerotic plaques. The definition of the atheroma plaque secretome resides in that proteins secreted by arteries can be very good candidates of novel biomarkers. Finally we describe proteins that have been differentially expressed (versus controls) by individual cells which constitute atheroma plaques (endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells, macrophages and foam cells) as well as by circulating cells (monocytes, platelets) or novel biomarkers present in plasma.
atheroma plaque; atherosclerosis; biomarkers; proteomics; cardiovascular diseases
Atherosclerosis is characterized by a chronic inflammatory disease, and chemokines play an important role in both initiation and progression of atherosclerosis development. Leukotactin-1 (Lkn-1/CCL15), a new member of the human CC chemokine family, is a potent chemoattractant for leukocytes. Our previous study has demonstrated that Lkn-1/CCL15 plays a role in the initiation of atherosclerosis, however, little is currently known whether Lkn-1/CCL15 is associated with the progression of atherosclerosis. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in human coronary atherosclerotic lesions play a crucial role in the progression of atherosclerosis by altering the vulnerability of plaque rupture. In the present study, we examined whether Lkn-1/CCL15 modulates MMP-9 release, which is a prevalent form expressed by activated macrophages and foam cells. Human THP-1 monocytic cells and/or human peripheral blood monocytes (PBMC) were treated with phorbol myristate acetate to induce their differentiation into macrophages. Foam cells were prepared by the treatment of THP-1 macrophages with human oxidized LDL. The macrophages and foam cells were treated with Lkn-1/CCL15, and the levels of MMP-9 release were measured by Gelatin Zymography. Lkn-1/CCL15 significantly enhanced the levels of MMP-9 protein secretion from THP-1 monocytic cells-derived macrophages, human PBMC-derived macrophages, as well as macrophage-derived foam cell in a dose dependent manner. Our data suggest that the action of Lkn-1/CCL15 on macrophages and foam cells to release MMP-9 may contribute to plaque destabilization in the progression of atherosclerosis.
Chemokine; Lkn-1/CCL15; MMP-9; foam cell; atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is currently the leading factor of death in developed countries. It is now recognized as a chronic immune-inflammatory disease, whose initial stages involve the interaction of leukocytes with the endothelial monolayer. The initial stage of atherosclerosis requires the interplay of various cell adhesion molecules and immune cells to trigger leukocyte and lymphocyte migration from the circulating blood into the arterial intima. Studies have unveiled the role of inflammatory mediators in the initiation, onset and progression of the disease. During the last few years we have gained a greater understanding of the mechanism that modulates monocyte, macrophage and T cell infiltration, the role these cells play in the atherosclerotic lesion, in the formation of the fibrous plaque formation with the consequent narrowing of the arteries and the mechanisms that lead to plaque rupture and the formation of thrombi and emboli. This review talks about the leukocyte recruitment in early atherosclerosis, the formation of the plaque, and the mechanisms that lead to thrombosis in advanced atherosclerosis. Finally, we discuss the potential for novel therapies to treat this disease.
CAMs; leukocyte; lymphocyte; migration; atherosclerosis; extravasation
Atherosclerosis is a complex disease in which vessels develop plaques comprising dysfunctional endothelium, monocyte derived lipid laden foam cells and activated lymphocytes. Considering that humans and animal models of the disease develop quite distinct plaques, we used human plaques to search for proteins that could be used as markers of human atheromas. Phage display peptide libraries were probed to fresh human carotid plaques, and a bound phage homologous to plexin B1, a high affinity receptor for CD100, was identified. CD100 is a member of the semaphorin family expressed by most hematopoietic cells and particularly by activated T cells. CD100 expression was analyzed in human plaques and normal samples. CD100 mRNA and protein were analyzed in cultured monocytes, macrophages and foam cells. The effects of CD100 in oxLDL-induced foam cell formation and in CD36 mRNA abundance were evaluated. Human atherosclerotic plaques showed strong labeling of CD100/SEMA4D. CD100 expression was further demonstrated in peripheral blood monocytes and in in vitro differentiated macrophages and foam cells, with diminished CD100 transcript along the differentiation of these cells. Incubation of macrophages with CD100 led to a reduction in oxLDL-induced foam cell formation probably through a decrease of CD36 expression, suggesting for the first time an atheroprotective role for CD100 in the human disease. Given its differential expression in the numerous foam cells and macrophages of the plaques and its capacity to decrease oxLDL engulfment by macrophages we propose that CD100 may have a role in atherosclerotic plaque development, and may possibly be employed in targeted treatments of these atheromas.
A phage display system for direct selection, identification, expression and purification of bacterial secretome proteins has been developed.
Surface, secreted and transmembrane protein-encoding open reading frames, collectively the secretome, can be identified in bacterial genome sequences using bioinformatics. However, functional analysis of translated secretomes is possible only if many secretome proteins are expressed and purified individually. We have now developed and applied a phage display system for direct selection, identification, expression and purification of bacterial secretome proteins.
Monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1), acting in concert with its receptor chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2), promotes recruitment of macrophages into atherosclerotic plaque. We examined whether single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) variants in the MCP-1 or CCR2 genes independently or in combination are associated with carotid artery atherosclerosis in an African American population at increased risk of vascular disease.
Four SNPs in MCP-1 and 1 in CCR2 were genotyped. Carotid artery duplex ultrasonography was used to identify the presence or absence of carotid plaque >1 mm. The study population included 325 apparently healthy 30- to 59-year-old black siblings of 185 probands with premature coronary artery disease (<60 years old). Associations between each independent SNP and the presence of carotid plaque were examined using multivariate logistic regression models adjusted for age, sex, educational level, diabetes, smoking, hypertension, obesity, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and non-independence within families. Interactions between SNPs in the MCP-1 gene and the SNP in the CCR2 gene were examined by multivariate analysis.
Siblings were 32% males, with a mean age of 46 ± 7 years, and 77 (24%) demonstrated carotid plaque. In multivariate analyses, the CC genotype of MCP-1 SNP rs2857656 was independently associated with plaque (p = 0.05). Subjects who had both the MCP-1 CC genotype and were heterozygotic or homozygotic for the CCR2 V64I genotype (rs1799864; n = 12) had an even higher risk of carotid atherosclerosis (odds ratio 6.14, 95% confidence interval 1.82–20.73; p = 0.0037).
The MCP-1 rs2857656 CC genotype is independently associated with carotid artery plaque in African American from families with premature coronary artery disease. The combination of the MCP-1 CC homozygous genotype and the homozygotic or heterozygote CCR2 V64I genotype is associated with a particularly high prevalence of carotid artery plaque.
Carotid atherosclerosis; Monocyte chemoattractant protein; Single nucleotide polymorphisms; Inflammation
Low dose irradiation (LDI) of uninjured segments is the consequence of the suggestion of many authors to extend the irradiation area in vascular brachytherapy to minimize the edge effect. Atherosclerosis is a general disease and the uninjured segment close to the intervention area is often atherosclerotic as well, consisting of neointimal smooth muscle cells (SMC) and quiescent monocytes (MC). The current study imitates this complex situation in vitro and investigates the effect of LDI on proliferation of SMC and expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) in MC.
Plaque tissue from advanced primary stenosing lesions of human coronary arteries (9 patients, age: 61 ± 7 years) was extracted by local or extensive thrombendarterectomy. SMC were isolated and identified by positive reaction with smooth muscle α-actin. MC were isolated from buffy coat leukocytes using the MACS cell isolation kit. For identification of MC flow-cytometry analysis of FITC-conjugated CD68 and CD14 (FACScan) was applied. SMC and MC were irradiated using megavoltage photon irradiation (CLINAC2300 C/D, VARIAN, USA) of 6 mV at a focus-surface distance of 100 cm and a dose rate of 6 Gy min-1 with single doses of 1 Gy, 4 Gy, and 10 Gy. The effect on proliferation of SMC was analysed at day 10, 15, and 20. Secondly, total RNA of MC was isolated 1 h, 2 h, 3 h, and 4 h after irradiation and 5 μg of RNA was used in standard Northern blot analysis with ICAM-1 cDNA-probes.
Both inhibitory and stimulatory effects were detected after irradiation of SMC with a dose of 1 Gy. At day 10 and 15 a significant antiproliferative effect was found; at day 20 after irradiation cell proliferation was significantly stimulated. Irradiation with 4 Gy and 10 Gy caused dose dependent inhibitory effects at day 10, 15, and 20. Expression of ICAM-1 in human MC was neihter inhibited nor stimulated by LDI.
Thus, the stimulatory effect of LDI on SMC proliferation at day 20 days after irradiation may be the in vitro equivalent of a beginning edge effect. Extending the irradiation area in vascular brachytherapy in vivo may therefore merely postpone and not inhibit the edge effect. The data do not indicate that expression of ICAM-1 in quiescent MC is involved in the process.
The hallmark of atherosclerosis is the accumulation of plaque in vessel walls. This process is initiated when monocytic cells differentiate into macrophage foam cells under conditions with high levels of atherogenic lipoproteins. Vulnerable plaque can dislodge, enter the blood stream, and result in acute myocardial infarction and stroke. Imaging techniques such as cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) provides one strategy to identify patients with plaque accumulation.
We synthesized an atherosclerotic-targeting contrast agent (ATCA) in which gadolinium (Gd)-containing endohedrals were functionalized and formulated into liposomes with CD36 ligands intercalated into the lipid bilayer. In vitro assays were used to assess the specificity of the ATCA for foam cells. The ability of ATCA to detect atherosclerotic plaque lesions in vivo was assessed using CMR.
The ATCA was able to detect scavenger receptor (CD36)-expressing foam cells in vitro and were specifically internalized via the CD36 receptor as determined by focused ion beam/scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) and Western blotting analysis of CD36 receptor-specific signaling pathways. The ATCA exhibited time-dependent accumulation in atherosclerotic plaque lesions of ApoE −/− mice as determined using CMR. No ATCA accumulation was observed in vessels of wild type (C57/b6) controls. Non-targeted control compounds, without the plaque-targeting moieties, were not taken up by foam cells in vitro and did not bind plaque in vivo. Importantly, the ATCA injection was well tolerated, did not demonstrate toxicity in vitro or in vivo, and no accumulation was observed in the major organs.
The ATCA is specifically internalized by CD36 receptors on atherosclerotic plaque providing enhanced visualization of lesions under physiological conditions. These ATCA may provide new tools for physicians to non-invasively detect atherosclerotic disease.
Atherosclerosis; Magnetic resonance imaging; Metallofullerenes; Contrast agent; Macrophage; CD36
Background. Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease with atherosclerotic plaques containing inflammatory infiltrates predominantly consisting of monocytes/macrophages and activated T cells. More recent is the implication of dendritic cells (DCs) in the disease. Since DCs were demonstrated in human arteries in 1995, numerous studies in humans suggest a role for these professional antigen-presenting cells in atherosclerosis. Aim. This paper focuses on the observations made in blood and arteries of patients with atherosclerosis. In principal, flow cytometric analyses show that circulating myeloid (m) and plasmacytoid (p) DCs are diminished in coronary artery disease, while immunohistochemical studies describe increased intimal DC counts with evolving plaque stages. Moreover, mDCs and pDCs appear to behave differently in atherosclerosis. Yet, the origin of plaque DCs and their relationship with blood DCs are unknown. Therefore, several explanations for the observed changes are postulated. In addition, the technical challenges and discrepancies in the research field are discussed. Future. Future studies in humans, in combination with experimental animal studies will unravel mechanisms leading to altered blood and plaque DCs in atherosclerosis. As DCs are crucial for inducing but also dampening immune responses, understanding their life cycle, trafficking and function in atherosclerosis will determine potential use of DCs in antiatherogenic therapies.
A ruptured atherosclerotic plaque leads to exposure of deeper layers of the plaque to flowing blood and subsequently to thrombus formation. In contrast to the wealth of data on the occurrence of thrombi, little is known about the reasons why an atherosclerotic plaque is thrombogenic. One of the reasons is the relative inaccessibility of the atherosclerotic plaque. We have circumvented this problem by using 6-microns cryostat cross sections of human coronary arteries. These sections were mounted on coverslips that were exposed to flowing blood in a rectangular perfusion chamber. In normal-appearing arteries, platelet deposition was seen on the luminal side of the intima and on the adventitia. In atherosclerotic arteries, strongly increased platelet deposition was seen on the connective tissue of specific parts of the atherosclerotic plaque. The central lipid core of an advanced plaque was not reactive towards platelets. The results indicate that the atherosclerotic plaque by itself is more thrombogenic than the normal vessel wall. To study the cause of the increased thrombus formation on the atherosclerotic plaque, perfusion studies were combined with immunohistochemical studies. Immunohistochemical studies of adhesive proteins showed enrichment of collagen types I, III, V, and VI, vitronectin, fibronectin, fibrinogen/fibrin, and thrombospondin in the atherosclerotic plaque. Laminin and collagen type IV were not enriched. von Willebrand Factor (vWF) was not present in the plaque. The pattern of increased platelet deposition in serial cross sections corresponded best with areas in which collagen types I and III were enriched, but there were also areas in the plaque where both collagens were enriched but no increased reactivity was seen. Inhibition of platelet adhesion with a large range of antibodies or specific inhibitors showed that vWF from plasma and collagen types I and/or III in the plaque were involved. Fibronectin from plasma and fibronectin, fibrinogen, laminin, and thrombospondin in the vessel wall had no effect on platelet adhesion. We conclude that the increased thrombogenicity of atherosclerotic lesions is due to changes in quantity and nature of collagen types I and/or III.
Although epidemiologic data link biomarkers of cardiovascular risk with incident and prevalent coronary artery disease, exact anatomic relationships between biomarkers and coronary atherosclerosis as measured by coronary CT angiography remain unclear. Patients with acute chest pain who ultimately had no evidence of acute coronary syndrome underwent contrast-enhanced 64-slice coronary CT angiography to determine presence, extent and composition of coronary atherosclerotic plaque. We determined the differences in levels of blood biomarkers measured at the time of the CT scan between different CT-based atherosclerotic plaque groups. Among 313 patients (mean age: 51.6 ± 11 years, 62% male) high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and matrix metalloproteinase-2 were associated with the extent of calcified plaque (P = 0.03 and P<0.001), while hs-CRP and apolipoprotein A1 were associated with the extent of non-calcified plaque (P = 0.03 and P = 0.004; respectively). Despite a generally lower risk profile, subjects with exclusively non-calcified plaque had significantly higher levels of hs-CRP and oxidized low-density lipoprotein (P = 0.01 and P = 0.03; respectively) and lower levels of adiponectin (P = 0.03) when compared to subjects with calcified plaque (n = 130, 42%). Biomarkers reflecting inflammation, vascular remodeling, oxidation, and lipoprotein metabolism maybe associated with different patterns of coronary atherosclerosis as quantified by coronary CT angiography.
Biomarkers; Atherosclerosis; Cardiac CT; Imaging; Coronary artery disease
Mutations in the human Jup gene cause arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) a heart muscle disease that often leads to sudden cardiac death. Inactivation of the murine Jup gene (also known as plakoglobin) results in embryonic lethality due to cardiac rupture. In an effort to generate a conditional knockout allele, a neomycin cassette was introduced into the murine plakoglobin (PG) gene. This allele (PG FN) functions as a hypomorph when combined with a null allele (PG Δ). About half of the PG FN/Δ animals were smaller than their littermates and died before weaning age, whereas the remaining PG FN/Δ animals survived. Despite the reduced levels of PG in the heart, there were no signs of cardiomyopathy or cardiac dysfunction as determined by echocardiography. Importantly, the PG homolog, β-catenin (CTNNB1), was increased in the PG FN/Δ hearts. In addition to its structural role as part of the N-cadherin/catenin adhesion complex, β-catenin is a downstream effector of Wnt signaling. However, no change in β-catenin/TCF reporter activity was observed in PG FN/Δ embryos suggesting that excess β-catenin was not likely causing increased transcription of Wnt/β-catenin target genes. These data suggest novel function(s) for PG beyond the heart and define a critical threshold of PG expression that is necessary for postnatal survival.
cell adhesion; intercalated disc; desmosome; adherens junction; cadherin; heart
Extracellular matrix remodelling is a prerequisite for plaque rupture in atherosclerotic lesion. Versican, an extracellular matrix proteoglycan present in normal and atherosclerotic arteries is a substrate for matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) present in macrophage rich areas. The aim of the current study was to develop an immunoassay to detect a specific MMP-12 derived versican degradation fragment (VCANM) and assess its potential as a biomarker for extracellular matrix remodelling in atherosclerosis. A mouse monoclonal antibody raised against VCANM was used for the development of a competitive ELISA for detection of the fragment in plasma. VCANM was measured in plasma of patients with different levels of heart diseases. Patients experiencing I) acute coronary syndrome, II) stable ischemic heart disease and III) demonstrating high levels of coronary calcium deposits had significantly higher plasma levels of VCANM compared to a control group of individuals with no detectable coronary calcium deposits. VCANM was also detected by immunohistochemistry in coronary artery sections of patients with different degrees of atherosclerosis. VCANM ability to separate patients with atherosclerotic diseases from healthy individuals suggested VCANM as a potential biomarker for the pathological arterial matrix remodelling associated with atherosclerosis.
Versican; acute coronary syndrome; atherosclerosis; biomarker; matrix; remodeling; neo-epitope
We aimed to identify the role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP-1) as a serum biomarker of symptomatic carotid atherosclerotic plaque in North Indian population. Individuals with symptomatic carotid atherosclerotic plaque have high risk of ischemic stroke. Previous studies from western countries have shown an association between VEGF and MCP-1 levels and the incidence of ischemic stroke. In this study, venous blood from 110 human subjects was collected, 57 blood samples of which were obtained from patients with carotid plaques, 38 neurological controls without carotid plaques, and another 15 healthy controls who had no history of serious illness. Serum VEGF and MCP-1 levels were measured using commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We also correlated the data clinically and carried out risk factor analysis based on the detailed questionnaire obtained from each patient. For risk factor analysis, a total of 70 symptomatic carotid plaque cases and equal number of age and sex matched healthy controls were analyzed. We found that serum VEGF levels in carotid plaque patients did not show any significant change when compared to either of the controls. Similarly, there was no significant upregulation of MCP-1 in the serum of these patients. The risk factor analysis revealed that hypertension, diabetes, and physical inactivity were the main correlates of carotid atherosclerosis (p < 0.05). Prevalence of patients was higher residing in urban areas as compared to rural region. We also found that patients coming from mountain region were relatively less vulnerable to cerebral atherosclerosis as compared to the ones residing at non mountain region. On the contrary, smoking, obesity, dyslipidemia, alcohol consumption, and tobacco chewing were not observed as the determinants of carotid atherosclerosis risk in North India (p > 0.05). We conclude that the pathogenesis of carotid plaques may progress independent of these inflammatory molecules. In parallel, risk factor analysis indicates hypertension, diabetes, and sedentary lifestyle as the most significant risk factors of ischemic stroke identified in North India. This could be helpful in early identification of subjects at risk for stroke and devising health care strategies.
carotid atherosclerotic plaque; vascular endothelial growth factor; serum protein levels; monocyte chemoattractant protein; enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
Intravascular photoacoustic (IVPA) imaging is a catheter-based, minimally invasive, imaging modality capable of providing high-resolution optical absorption map of the arterial wall. Integrated with intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) imaging, combined IVPA and IVUS imaging can be used to detect and characterize atherosclerotic plaques building up in the inner lining of an artery. In this paper, we present and discuss various representative applications of combined IVPA/IVUS imaging of atherosclerosis, including assessment of the composition of atherosclerotic plaques, imaging of macrophages within the plaques, and molecular imaging of biomarkers associated with formation and development of plaques. In addition, imaging of coronary artery stents using IVPA and IVUS imaging is demonstrated. Furthermore, the design of an integrated IVUS/IVPA imaging catheter needed for in vivo clinical applications is discussed.
Atherosclerosis; contrast agent; imaging catheter; intravascular photoacoustic (IVPA) imaging; intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) imaging; molecular imaging; stent; vulnerable plaque
Previous studies have shown that recent activation of the inflammatory response in coronary atherosclerotic lesions contributes to rapid progressive plaque destabilisation. Neopterin, a by‐product of the guanosine triphosphate pathway, is produced by activated macrophages and serves as an activation marker for monocytes/macrophages.
To elucidate the role of neopterin in coronary plaque destabilisation by immunohistochemical study of the presence of neopterin in coronary atherectomy specimens obtained from patients with stable angina pectoris (SAP) and unstable angina pectoris (UAP).
Patients and methods
All patients underwent atherectomy of the primary atherosclerotic lesions responsible for SAP (n = 25) and UAP (n = 25). Frozen samples were studied with antibodies against smooth muscle cells, macrophages, T cells, neutrophils and neopterin.
In 22/25 patients with UAP, abundant neopterin‐positive macrophages were found at the sites of coronary culprit lesions. However, in 25 lesions from patients with SAP, only 11 lesions showed neopterin positivity. Quantitatively, the neopterin‐positive macrophage score was significantly higher (p<0.001) in patients with UAP than in patients with SAP. Moreover, the neopterin‐positive macrophage score showed a significant positive correlation with the number of neutrophils or T cells, respectively (neutrophils, r = 0.55, p<0.001; T cells, r = 0.70, p<0.001).
Neopterin can be considered as one of the significant factors in the process of plaque inflammation and destabilisation in human coronary atherosclerotic lesions. Its exact role in the process needs to be investigated further.
atherosclerosis; inflammation; neopterin; angina