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Am J Cardiol. 1996 Sep 15;78(6):633-7.

Evidence for rapid accumulation and persistently disordered architecture of fibrillar collagen in human coronary restenosis lesions.

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  • 1John P. Robarts Research Institute, University Hospital, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.

Abstract

The pattern of collagen deposition after coronary angioplasty could significantly influence recurrent lesion formation. Traditional histologic assessments of coronary restenosis lesions have not identified abundant collagen fibers in restenotic tissue; however, these methods can suffer from lack of sensitivity and are not quantitative. We analyzed collagen architecture in 40 coronary lesions retrieved from patients by directional atherectomy, by exploiting the birefringent properties of fibrillar collagen. Picrosirius red-stained sections were illuminated with circularly polarized light, and fiber content and thickness were quantified by digital image analysis. Fifteen of 19 restenosis lesions (79%) and 1 of 21 native atherosclerosis lesions (5%) displayed a pattern of reactive intimal modeling, characterized by stellateshaped smooth muscle cells variably oriented in a loose extracellular matrix. There was an apparent paucity of collagen fibers in these regions based on staining with Movat's pentachrome, a traditional connective tissue stain. However, circular polarization light microscopy revealed an extensive distribution of collagen fibers in restenosis tissue, occupying 79.9% +/- 11.8% of the section area. Despite this high collagen content, the restenosis lesions were distinct from de novo atherosclerosis lesions in having a disordered collagen alignment, reduced fiber packing (p < 0.05), and thinner fibers (4.3 +/- 1.7 vs 9.2 +/- 4.3 microns, p < 0.001). Fiber diameter was greater in lesions retrieved between 3 and 17 months after angioplasty than in lesions retrieved between 1 week and 3 months (p < 0.05). However, fiber disorientation was evident in all lesions retrieved after 1 week, with little similarity to that of native plaque. Lesions retrieved within 1 week of angioplasty represented a distinct group with identical collagen features as in de novo atherosclerosis lesions, implying a different mechanism of restenosis in that population. We conclude that human coronary restenosis involves rapid accumulation of collagen fibers, which are persistently disordered. This may be critical in the development of restenosis and could significantly influence therapeutic attempts to control the process.

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PMID:
8831395
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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