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Blood. 2000 Dec 15;96(13):4212-5.

Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 deficiency protects against atherosclerosis progression in the mouse carotid artery.

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Divisions of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


Dissolution of the fibrin blood clot is regulated in large part by plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1). Elevated levels of plasma PAI-1 may be an important risk factor for atherosclerotic vascular disease and are associated with premature myocardial infarction. The role of the endogenous plasminogen activation system in limiting thrombus formation following atherosclerotic plaque disruption is unknown. This study found that genetic deficiency for PAI-1, the primary physiologic regulator of tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA), prolonged the time to occlusive thrombosis following photochemical injury to carotid atherosclerotic plaque in apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE(-/-)) mice. However, anatomic analysis revealed a striking difference in the extent of atherosclerosis at the carotid artery bifurcation between apoE(-/-) mice and mice doubly deficient for apoE and PAI-1 (PAI-1(-/-)/apoE(-/-)). Consistent with a previous report, PAI-1(+/+)/apoE(-/-)and PAI-1(-/-)/apoE(-/-) mice developed similar atherosclerosis in the aortic arch. The marked protection from atherosclerosis progression at the carotid bifurcation conferred by PAI-1 deficiency suggests a critical role for PAI-1 in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis at sites of turbulent flow, potentially through the inhibition of fibrin clearance. Consistent with this hypothesis, intense fibrinogen/fibrin staining was observed in atherosclerotic lesions at the carotid bifurcation compared to the aortic arch. These observations identify significant differences in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis at varying sites in the vascular tree and suggest a previously unappreciated role for the plasminogen activation system in atherosclerosis progression at sites of turbulent flow. (Blood. 2000;96:4212-4215).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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