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Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1987 Feb;184(2):138-43.

Aortic ascorbic acid, trace elements, and superoxide dismutase activity in human aneurysmal and occlusive disease.


Altered trace elements and ascorbic acid metabolism have been implicated in the pathogenesis of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. However, their role in the disease process, or the effect of atherosclerosis on their tissue levels within plaque, is poorly understood. The present study analyzes the concentrations of Fe, Cu, Zn, and Mn, and ascorbic acid and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in tissue samples from 29 patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) and 14 patients with atherosclerotic occlusive disease (AOD). It was observed that the Fe and Mn concentrations in AAA and AOD tissue were higher than the levels in nondiseased control aorta, whereas Cu and Zn levels in AAA and AOD tissue were similar to the levels in controls. The Zn:Cu ratio was significantly lower in the AAA tissue in comparison to both AOD and control tissue. In addition, AAA and AOD tissue had low ascorbic acid levels and low Cu,Zn-SOD activity with Cu,Zn-SOD:Mn-SOD ratios of 0.27 and 0.19, respectively, compared to a ratio of 3.20 in control aorta. These data indicate that aorta affected by aneurysms and occlusive disease have altered trace element and ascorbic acid concentrations, as well as low Cu,Zn-SOD activity. Although these observations do not directly support the hypothesis that AAA is associated with aortic Cu deficiency they do suggest a role for oxygen radicals or increased lipid peroxidation in occlusive and aneurysmal disease of the aorta.

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