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Am J Pathol. 1986 Oct;125(1):191-207.

Human atherosclerosis. II. Immunocytochemical analysis of the cellular composition of human atherosclerotic lesions.


The authors have performed immunocytochemical investigations of the distribution of various cell types in human atherosclerotic plaques using monoclonal antibodies specific to smooth muscle cells (CGA7 [Gown et al, J Cell Biol 1985, 100:807-813] and HHF35 [Tsukada et al, Am J Pathol (In press)] ); lymphocytes (T200 antigen); endothelial cells (Factor VIII and the Ulex europeus agglutinin); and macrophages, the latter with a new macrophage-specific antibody HAM56. All studies were performed on methanol-Carnoy's-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues. In areas of grossly normal aorta, significant numbers of macrophages were noted within areas of diffuse intimal thickening. The cellular composition of the following three types of raised lesions were analyzed: fibro-fatty lesions, which, despite their gross appearance, consistent with fibrous plaques, were composed almost exclusively of macrophages and lymphocytes and almost devoid of smooth muscle cells; fibrous plaques, which were predominantly composed of smooth muscle cells displaying considerable morphologic heterogeneity and an admixture of blood-borne cells; advanced plaques, which were characterized by complex layers of smooth muscle cells and macrophages with considerable variation from region to region. Also noted were foci of medial and even intimal vascularization subjacent to the more advanced plaques. These studies demonstrate the application of monoclonal antibody technology to the study of the cellular composition of human atherosclerotic lesions.

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