Nerve growth factor levels and mast cell distribution in human coronary atherosclerosis

George N. Chaldakov, Ivan S. Stankulov, Marco Fiore, Peter I. Ghenev, Luigi Aloe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nerve growth factor (NGF), in addition to its neurotrophic function, acts on a variety of non-neuronal cells including immune cells and vascular smooth muscle cells. The aim of the present study was to determine the NGF levels and the distribution of NGF and low-affinity NGF receptor (p75NGFR) and mast cells (MC) in human atherosclerotic coronary arteries. Specimens of human coronary arteries obtained from autopsy cases (n = 12, subjects with atherosclerotic lesions; n = 9, subjects without atherosclerotic lesions/controls) were used. The present study showed that in the atherosclerosis-lesioned arteries, the amount of NGF decreased, whereas the expression of p75NGFR immunoreactivity and the number, both of MC and vasa vasorum, particularly in the adventitia, significantly increased, compared with the control arteries. Cumulatively, our findings help to set the neurotrophic theory and its currently extended neuroimmune framework into the context of pathobiology of atherosclerosis, suggesting that altered presence of NGF, p75NGFR, and MC may play a role in neuroimmune mechanisms of human coronary atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coronary arteries
  • Epicardial adipose tissue
  • Mast cells
  • Myocardium
  • Nerve growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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