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Circ Res. 1978 Jul;43(1):10-8.

Clonal markers in the study of the origin and growth of human atherosclerotic lesions.


The X-linked enzyme, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PD) was used as a cellular marker to study the clonal characteristics of human atherosclerotic lesions from females heterozygous for G-6-PD isoenzymes. Portions of uninvolved aortic wall contained both isoenzyme types (A and B), and their isoenzyme patterns were used to establish criteria for polyclonal lesions. Portions of uterine leiomyomas contained predominantly one isoenzyme type (either all A or all B) and their isoenzyme patterns were used to establish criteria for monoclonal lesions. These techniques were used to address three questions concerning atherogenesis. First, evidence for the monoclonal origin of fibrous-capped plaques was provided by the findings that small plaques had G-6-PD isoenzyme distributions similar to those of leimyomas; that in large plaques with multiple portions assayed for G-6-PD, a large proportion (25 of 26, 96%) of plaques had monoclonal characteristics; and that multiple monoclonal portions were present in the same plaque. Second, the role of the fatty streak as a precursor of fibrous plaques was supported by the demonstration that a proportion (11 of 66, 16.7%) of fatty streaks contained isoenzyme patterns intermediate between those of polyclonal uninvolved aortic wall and monoclonal leiomyomas. Increased cellularity of fatty streaks correlated with increased deviation of isoenzyme pattern toward monoclonality. Third, the assay of portions of both small and large plaques provided no evidence for clonal selection as plaques increase in size.

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