Evidence for a Proinflammatory and Proteolytic Environment in Plaques from Endarterectomy Segments of Human Carotid Arteries

Marilena Formato, Miriam Farina, Rita Spirito, Marco Maggioni, Anna Guarino, Gian Mario Cherchi, Paolo Biglioli, Celina Edelstein, Angelo M. Scanu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives-Based on previous observations on apolipoprotein(a), apo(a), in human unstable carotid plaques, we explored whether in the inflammatory environment of human atheroma, proteolytic events affect other hepatic and topically generated proteins in relation to the issue of plaque stability. Methods and Results-Forty unstable and 24 stable plaques from endarterectomy segments of affected human carotid arteries were extracted with buffered saline (PBS) and then 6 mol/L guanidine-hydrochloride (GdHCl) to identify loosely and tightly bound products, respectively. The extracts were studied before and after ultracentrifugation at d 1.21 g/mL. In the extracts, the concentrations of interleukin (IL)-6, -8, and -18 were significantly higher in the unstable plaques and correlated to those of MMP-2 and MMP-9. By Western blots, both apoB and apo(a) were highly fragmented and mostly present in the d 1.21 bottom that also contained fragments of apoE (10 and 22 kDa), decorin, biglycan, and versican. Fragmentation was higher in the unstable plaques. In baseline plasmas, concentrations of lipids, lipoproteins, and ILs did not differ between patients with unstable and stable plaques. Conclusions-In unstable and to a lesser extent in stable plaques, there is a proinflammatory and proteolytic microenvironment with the generation of fragments with potential pathobiological significance that requires investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-135
Number of pages7
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004


  • Apolipoproteins
  • Interleukins
  • Metalloproteinases
  • Proteoglycans
  • Stable and unstable carotid plaques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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