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Ultrastruct Pathol. 2018 Nov-Dec;42(6):477-488. doi: 10.1080/01913123.2018.1544953. Epub 2018 Nov 22.

Occurrence and characterization of lipofuscin and ceroid in human atherosclerotic plaque.

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a Department of Biology, Ecology and Earth Sciences, Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, Transmission Electron Microscopy Laboratory , University of Calabria , Cosenza , Italy.


Atherosclerotic plaque formation starts early in life, develops silently over decades, and often displays clear evidence of accelerated biological aging. Lipofuscin has been classically defined as "the most consistent and phylogenetically conserved cellular morphologic change of aging," however, despite this traditional view different lines of evidence have recently demonstrated that, besides aging, various noxious influences can engeder its accumulation in cells and also that specific experimental conditions can revert this effect. Lipofuscin has been also proven to interact with disease-related factors to enhance cell loss. Along with lipofuscin, ceroid, another autofluorescent lipopigment usually produced under various pathological conditions unrelated to aging, has been suggested to jeopardize cell performance and viability by inducing membrane fragility, mitochondrial dysfunction, DNA damage, and oxidative stress-induced apoptosis. With regard to atherosclerosis, very few investigations have been conducted to assess whether a link could exist between lipofuscin/ceroid accumulation and the progression of the disease and no information still exist regarding the anatomy and the ultrastructural diversification of lipofuscin and ceroid in the lesional vascular tissue. At the same time, data concerning their potential toxicity at the cellular level are fragmentary, dated, and scarce. The present study investigates the occurrence and distribution of lipofuscin and ceroid in human atherosclerotic plaque and adjacent healthy tissues and analyzes the ultrastructural changes associated with their accumulation within the cell.


Atherosclerosis; Ceroid; Electron Microscopy; Lipofuscin

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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