Altered expression of inflammation-related genes in human carotid atherosclerotic plaques

Maria Donata Di Taranto, Alberto Morgante, Umberto Marcello Bracale, Francesco Paolo D'Armiento, Massimo Porcellini, Giancarlo Bracale, Giuliana Fortunato, Francesco Salvatore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Inflammation is a pivotal process in atherosclerosis development and progression, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain largely obscure. We have conducted an extensive expression study of atherosclerotic plaques to identify the inflammatory pathways involved in atherosclerosis. Methods: We studied 11 human carotid plaques, their respective adjacent regions and 7 control arteries from different subjects. Expression of 92 genes was studied by TaqMan low-density array human inflammation panel. Human aortic endothelial and smooth muscle cells were used for in vitro experiments. Results: The mRNA levels of 44/92 genes (48%) differed significantly between the tissues examined (13 up-regulated and 31 down-regulated). Dysregulated genes encode molecules belonging to different functional classes although most of them encode enzymes involved in the eicosanoid synthesis pathway. The expression of PTGIS and PTGIR genes was decreased in human aortic endothelial and smooth muscle cells stimulated with oxLDL and TNF-α. Conclusions: This study not only reveals several dysregulated genes in human lesions but also focuses the role played by the genes involved in the eicosanoid synthesis pathway during atherosclerotic development. The decrease of PTGIS and PTGIR expression after oxLDL treatment mirrors the decreased mRNA levels in atherosclerotic lesions versus control arteries, which suggests that oxidation is important for PTGIS and PTGIR regulation in human vessel cells during atherosclerosis development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Eicosanoid pathway
  • Gene expression
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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