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Am J Pathol. 1993 Aug;143(2):496-506.

Plasma protein insudation as an index of early coronary atherogenesis.

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Clinical Science Division, Australian National University, Canberra.


Two hundred ninety-nine paraffin-embedded coronary artery blocks from 68 autopsy cases were serially sectioned. The blocks were selected to provide a range from normal through various stages of atherosclerosis, and sections were examined with the indirect immunofluorescence technique for intramural distribution of plasma albumin, fibrinogen, and immunoglobulin gamma (IgG). Cryostat-sections of 44 blocks from 22 of the same cases were examined with the same technique for distribution of apolipoprotein B. Alteration of protein insudation in the artery wall was a sensitive index of coronary atherogenesis. The sequence in which these proteins were involved in the initiation and development of early atherosclerotic lesions was analyzed by determining the average relative intimal thickness and relative lumen size that was associated with the first occurrence of altered insudation of each of these proteins. Results indicate that changed plasma albumin insudation is the earliest sign of a focal intimal lesion, and increasing albumin insudation shows the strongest association with intimal plaque growth. The other proteins tested showed altered insudation, in the order IgG, fibrinogen, apolipoprotein B. The results indicate that a progressive increase in permeability of the coronary artery endothelium occurs in the early stages of atherogenesis. Patterns of IgG localization provide evidence of both early systemic and subsequent local immune reactions being involved in atherogenesis. Altered albumin and apolipoprotein B insudation levels have stronger correlation coefficients with relative intimal thickness and relative lumen size than do those IgG and fibrinogen. The extremely high correlation coefficients shown by albumin emphasizes the importance of edema in determining plaque size and lumen stenosis.

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