Localization of Lipids and Cell Population in Atheromatous Lesions in Aorta and Its Main Arterial Branches in Patients with Hypercholesterolemia
To find clues to the mechanism of regression of atherosclerosis, we investigated the localization of lipids and cell populations in atheromatous lesions at arterial branches in patients with hypercholesterolemia. Intimai thickening and lipid deposits were found in the proximal areas (low shear areas) to the orifice more markedly than in the distal areas (high shear areas), while the apex (flow divider) was composed of dense fibrous and elastic cushion lesions. Lipid storage was found more frequently and more extensively in smooth muscle cells rather than in macrophages in the deeper areas of the thickened intimas. These observations suggest that smooth muscle cells play an important role in lipid deposition and contribute to atherosclerotic lesions at the sites of arterial branches. This finding may be related to the delay in regression of atherosclerotic lesions in spite of intensive antihypercholesterolemic treatment.
KeywordsSmooth Muscle Cell Wall Shear Stress Atherosclerotic Lesion Foam Cell Familial Hypercholesterolemia
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