Vol 59, No 1 (2021)
Original paper
Published online: 2021-02-08

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Relationship between calcification, atherosclerosis and matrix proteins in the human aorta

Aleksandra Kuzan1, Jerzy Wisniewski2, Krzysztof Maksymowicz3, Magdalena Kobielarz4, Andrzej Gamian15, Agnieszka Chwilkowska6
Pubmed: 33560515
Folia Histochem Cytobiol 2021;59(1):8-21.


Introduction. Extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins have been associated with atherosclerotic complications, such as plaque rupture, calcification and aneurysm. It is not clear what role different types of collagen play in the pathomechanism of atherosclerosis. The aim of the study was to analyze the content of elastin and major types of collagen in the aortic wall and how they associated are with course of atherosclerosis. Material and methods. In this work we present six biochemical parameters related to ECM proteins and collagen-specific amino acids (collagen type I, III, and IV, elastin, proline and hydroxyproline) analyzed in 106 patients’ aortic wall specimens characterized by different degree of atherosclerosis. Liquid Chromatography Electrospray Ionization Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC/ESI-MS/MS), ELISA and immunohistochemical methods were used. The severity of atherosclerosis was assessed on the six-point scale of the American Heart Association, taking into account the number and location of foam cells, the presence of a fatty core, calcium deposits and other characteristic atherosclerotic features.

Results. The results show that there is a relationship between the content of collagen-specific amino acids and development of atherosclerosis. The degree of atherosclerotic lesions was negatively correlated with the content of proline, hydroxyproline and the ratio of these two amino acids. Calcium deposits and surrounding tissue were compared and it was demonstrated that the ratio of type I collagen to type III collagen was higher in the aortic tissue than in aortic calcification areas, while the ratio of collagen type III to elastin was smaller in the artery than in the calcium deposits. Conclusions. We suggest that increase in collagen type III presence in the calcification matrix may stem from disorders in the structure of the type I and III collagen fibers. These anomalous fibers are likely to favor accumulation of the calcium salts, an important feature of the process of atheromatosis.

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