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Ann Biomed Eng. 2011 Jan;39(1):287-96. doi: 10.1007/s10439-010-0127-y. Epub 2010 Jul 23.

Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy to assess vascular oxidative stress.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering and Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.


Vascular inflammatory responses are intimately linked with oxidative stress, favoring the development of pre-atherosclerotic lesions. We proposed that oxidized low density lipoprotein (oxLDL) and foam cell infiltrates in the subendothelial layer engendered distinct electrochemical properties that could be measured in terms of the electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). Concentric bipolar microelectrodes were applied to interrogate EIS of aortas isolated from fat-fed New Zealand White (NZW) rabbits and explants of human aortas. Frequency-dependent EIS measurements were assessed between 10 kHz and 100 kHz, and were significantly elevated in the pre-atherosclerotic lesions in which oxLDL and macrophage infiltrates were prevalent (At 100 kHz: aortic arch lesion=26.7±2.7 kΩ vs. control=15.8±2.4 kΩ; at 10 kHz: lesions=49.2±7.3 kΩ vs. control=27.6±2.7 kΩ, n=10, p<0.001). Similarly, EIS measurements were significantly elevated in the human descending aorta where pre-atherosclerotic lesions or fatty streaks were prominent. EIS measurements remained unchanged in spite of various depths of electrode submersion or orientation of the specimens. Hence, the concentric bipolar microelectrodes provided a reliable means to measure endoluminal electrochemical modifications in regions of pro-inflammatory with high spatial resolution and reproducibility albeit uneven lesion topography and non-uniform current distribution.

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