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Am J Pathol. 1998 Feb;152(2):533-46.

Proteoglycan distribution in lesions of atherosclerosis depends on lesion severity, structural characteristics, and the proximity of platelet-derived growth factor and transforming growth factor-beta.

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Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle 98195, USA.


The accumulation of proteoglycans (PGs) in atherosclerosis contributes to disease progression and stenosis and may partly depend on local regulation by growth factors such as platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta. In this study, the distribution of the major extracellular PGs is compared with that of PDGF and TGF-beta isoforms in developing lesions of atherosclerosis from hypercholesterolemic nonhuman primates. Strong immunostaining for decorin, biglycan, versican, and hyaluronan is observed in both intermediate and advanced lesions. Perlecan staining is weak in intermediate lesions but strong in advanced lesions in areas bordering the plaque core. Immunostaining for PDGF-B and TGF-beta1 is particularly prominent in macrophages in intermediate and advanced lesions. In contrast, TGF-beta2 and TGF-beta3 and PDGF-A are present in both macrophages and smooth muscle cells. Overall, PG deposits parallel areas of intense growth factor immunostaining, with trends in relative localization that suggest interrelationships among certain PGs and growth factors. Notably, decorin and TGF-beta1 are distributed similarly, predominantly in the macrophage-rich core, whereas biglycan is prominent in the smooth muscle cell matrix adjoining TGF-beta1-positive macrophages. Versican and hyaluronan are enriched in the extracellular matrix adjacent to both PDGF- and TGF-beta1-positive cells. These data demonstrate that PG accumulation varies with lesion severity, structural characteristics, and the proximity of PDGF and TGF-beta.

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