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Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2000 Aug;20(2):146-52.

Expression of cyclo-oxygenase-2 in human atherosclerotic carotid arteries.

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  • 1Cardiovascular Research Unit, Center for Molecular Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden.



the preventive effect of acetylsalicylic acid in cardiovascular disease may be due to inhibition of platelet aggregation mediated by COX-1, but may in addition be due to anti-inflammatory effects by inhibition of COX-2. The objective of this study was to analyse the expression of COX-1 and COX-2 in atherosclerotic and healthy vascular walls.


the expression COX-1 and COX-2 was analysed in biopsies from human atherosclerotic carotid arteries and from healthy mammary arteries and saphenous veins. Materials: vascular biopsies were obtained from patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy or coronary bypass surgery.


RT-PCR was used for mRNA analysis and for localization of proteins we used immunohistochemistry.


COX-2 was found in atherosclerotic plaques: in macrophages, in some smooth muscle cells and in endothelial cells of small vessels in the lesions. In non-atherosclerotic blood vessels, COX-2 was detected in the endothelium of the vasa vasorum in the adventitia. COX-1 was found in the endothelium in healthy and in atherosclerotic vessels.


the expression of COX-2 by inflammatory and vascular cells in atherosclerotic arteries suggests that products of this enzyme may be important in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.

Copyright 2000 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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