[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vulnerable plaques are characterized by a myxoid matrix, necrotic lipidic core, reactive oxygen species, and high levels of microorganisms. Aerobic microbes such as Chlamydophila pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae usually do not survive in oxidative stress media. Archaea are anaerobic microbes with powerful anti-oxidative enzymes that allow detoxification of free radicals whose presence might favor the survival of aerobic microorganisms. We searched for archaeal organisms in vulnerable plaques, and possible associations with myxoid matrix, chlamydia, and mycoplasma bodies.
Twenty-nine tissue samples from 13 coronary artherectomies from large excentric ostial or bifurcational lesions were studied using optical and electron microscopy. Infectious agents compatible with archaea, chlamydia, and mycoplasma were semiquantified using electron micrographs and correlated with the amounts of fibromuscular tissue, myxoid matrix, and foam cells, as determined from semi-thin sections. Six of the cases were also submitted to polymerase chain reaction with archaeal primers.
All 13 specimens showed archaeal-compatible structures and chlamydial and mycoplasmal bodies in at least 1 sample. There was a positive correlation between extent of the of myxoid matrix and archaeal bodies (r = 0.44, P = 0.02); between archaeal and mycoplasmal bodies (r = 0.41, P = 0.03), and between chlamydial bodies and foam cells (r = 0.42; P = 0.03). The PCR test was positive for archaeal DNA in 4 of the 6 fragments.
DNA and forms suggestive of archaea are present in vulnerable plaques and may have a fundamental role in the proliferation of mycoplasma and chlamydia. This seems to be the first description of apparently pathogenic archaea in human internal organ lesions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To verify the possible role of adventitial inflammation in atherosclerotic plaque vulnerability and coronary artery remodelling.
We compared the mean numbers of lymphocytes in the adventitia and in the plaque of ruptured thrombosed and stable equi-stenotic coronary segments of 34 patients who died due to acute myocardial infarction. We also analysed adventitial microvessels, adventitial fibrosis and the external elastic membrane.
In the adventitia, the numbers of lymphocytes and microvessels/mm2 were 69.5+/-88.3 and 60.9+/- 32.1 in culprit lesions and 16.4 +/- 21.1 and 44.3+/-16.1 in stable lesions (p<0.05); within the plaques, the mean number of lymphocytes was 24+/-40.8 in culprit lesions and 10.9+/-13.2 in stable ones (p=0.17). The mean percent area of adventitial fibrosis/cross-sectional area of the vessel was significantly lower in unstable plaques (p<0.001). The confocal images showed holes in the external elastic membrane.
Unstable plaques exhibit chronic pan-arteritis, accompanied by enlargement, medial thinning, and less fibrosis than in stable lesions, which is compatible with vessel aneurysm. Adventitial inflammation may contribute significantly to atheroma instability.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several lines of clinical evidence show that AMI frequently occurs at sites with mild to moderate degree of coronary stenosis. The degree of luminal stenosis depends on plaque deposition and degree of vessel remodeling, features poorly assessed by coronary angiography. This postmortem study tested the hypothesis that the size of coronary atheroma and the type of remodeling distinguish culprit lesion responsible for fatal AMI from equi-stenotic nonculprit lesion in the same coronary tree. The main coronary branches from 36 consecutive patients with fatal AMI were studied. The culprit lesion (Group 1) and an equi-stenotic nonculprit segment (Group 2) obtained in measurements of another coronary branch from the same patient were compared. Morphometry and plaque composition was assessed in both groups. Compared to Group 2, Group 1 had larger areas of: plaque 9.6 vs. 4.7 mm(2), vessel 12.7 vs. 7.4 mm(2) and lumen 1.7 vs. 1.2 mm(2); (P< .01). Positive remodeling was more frequent in Group 1 than Group 2: 21/30 (70%) vs. 8/26 (31%). Plaque area correlated positively with lipid core and macrophages and negatively with fibrosis and smooth muscle cells. Atherosclerotic plaques that cause fatal thrombosis are more frequently positively remodeled and tend to be larger than nonculprit plaques with the same degree of cross-sectional stenosis. We tested whether arterial remodeling and plaque size vary between segments containing a fatal thrombosed plaque versus an equi-stenotic nonculprit plaque. Culprit vessel segments had higher cross-sectional areas of intimal plaque and of vessel wall than equi-stenotic nonculprit plaques. The cross-sectional area of the vessel correlated positively with both the lipid core area and CD68(+) macrophage content, and negatively with fibrosis area and smooth muscle cell content. These results add elements explaining limitations of angiography in identifying plaques and provide new insights into the role of remodeling in plaque instability.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A possible relationship between C.pneumoniae (CP) infection, atherosclerosis and acute myocardial infarction is a debated matter. Now we performed the search of CP in histological segments of fatal ruptured plaques and of stable plaques by histochemistry (Macchiavello stain), immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization techniques. Electron microscopy and confocal laser microscopy techniques were used in two additional cases. The semi-quantification of CP + cells (0-4+) and quantification of lymphocytes demonstrated greater amount of CP + cells and more inflammation in the adventitia of vulnerable plaque vessel segments than of stable ones, larger amount of CP + cells in adventitia than in the plaque and high frequency of CP + cells in all groups studied. This preliminary study strongly suggests a direct pathogenetic involvement of adventitial CP in the rupture of the atheromatous plaque, development of acute myocardial infarction and also in the development of atherosclerosis.