Interaction of Platelets with the Endothelium in Normal and von Willebrand Pigs
In order to evaluate the possible role of platelets in the development of atherosclerosis, the aortas of 11 control pigs and 11 homozygous von Willebrand (vWD) pigs were examined for spontaneous atherosclerosis. Of the 11 normal pigs, six showed multiple atherosclerotic plaques with an intimal thickening of 63 to 130 µm. In contrast, none of the von Willebrand pigs had multiple plaques and only one showed a single lesion of more than 2 mm in diameter.
In a prospective study, 11 control pigs and seven vWD pigs were given a high (2%) cholesterol diet from the age of 3 to 9 months. All of the controls developed atherosclerotic plaques; in nine the plaques exceeded 12% of the aortic surface with an intimal thickening of up to 390 µm. In contrast, four of the vWD pigs did not develop such lesions, and the lesions in two of the other pigs covered less than 8% of the aortic surface. Most of the vWD pigs did, however, develop nonatherosclerotic flat fatty lesions.
These findings, together with some preliminary findings on aortic cross-transplantation studies between control and vWD pigs, suggest the possibility of a relationship between the circulating platelet, the endothelial cell von Willebrand factor, and the reactivity of the arterial wall in the process of atherosclerosis.
KeywordsAtherosclerotic Plaque Intimal Hyperplasia High Cholesterol Diet Fibrous Plaque Factor Viii Deficiency
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