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Circulation. 1994 Jun;89(6):2816-21.

The relative importance of arterial remodeling compared with intimal hyperplasia in lumen renarrowing after balloon angioplasty. A study in the normal rabbit and the hypercholesterolemic Yucatan micropig.

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Department of Cardiology, Utrecht University Hospital, The Netherlands.



Although arterial renarrowing after angioplasty has been attributed largely to intimal hyperplasia, there has been no systematic effort to correlate the actual hyperplastic tissue mass with angiographic lumen reduction. Using balloon angioplasty in various animal restenosis models, we quantitatively assessed the separate contributions of intimal hyperplasia and arterial remodeling to angiographic late lumen loss.


Data used for this study were obtained from experiments of conventional and thermal (37 degrees C or 55 degrees to 90 degrees C) balloon angioplasty-treated femoral and iliac arteries in normal rabbits and conventional balloon angioplasty-treated iliac arteries in Yucatan micropigs fed either a normal or an atherogenic diet. Quantitative angiography was performed immediately before and after intervention and at 3 or 8 weeks thereafter, and late loss in lumen diameter was taken as the difference between arterial diameter immediately after treatment and at 3 or 8 weeks of follow-up. Intimal hyperplasia was quantified histologically as the area of tissue mass within the internal elastic lamina. We observed a consistent discrepancy between the actual late loss seen with angiography and the diameter reduction that could be explained by histological intimal thickness alone in both animal models. This discrepancy ranged from 86 +/- 3% of the late loss in the 8 weeks/37 degrees C group to 77 +/- 22% in the conventional group for rabbits and 52 +/- 23% in an atherogenic diet group (n = 10) to 89 +/- 11% in a normal diet group (n = 6) for pigs. This discrepancy appeared to be due predominantly to reduction of the area circumscribed by the internal elastic membrane, a process that is tentatively designated as arterial remodeling. In both the rabbit femoral artery and in the Yucatan iliac artery, remodeling, not intimal hyperplasia, correlated with angiographic late loss.


In both the normal rabbit and the normal and atherosclerotic pig, restenosis after angioplasty results from both intimal hyperplasia and arterial remodeling. The exact etiology of arterial renarrowing after angioplasty has important implications on the design of antirestenosis drugs and new coronary devices.

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