Elastin- and Collagen-Rich Human Carotid Plaques Have Increased Levels of the Cysteine Protease Inhibitor Cystatin C.

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Abstract

Background: Cystatin C is a major inhibitor of the elastin- and collagen-degrading cysteine proteases and may therefore have an important role in preserving atherosclerotic plaque stability. In this study we analyzed the associations between human carotid plaque cystatin C expression and the plaque content of collagen and elastin. Methods: Thirty-one plaques were removed by endarterectomy and homogenized. Cystatin C levels were analyzed by densitometry of Western blots and elastin and collagen levels were determined colorimetrically. Results: The plaque content of cystatin C correlated with total elastin (r = 0.58, p = 0.001) and collagen (r = 0.50, p = 0.004), as well as with cross-linked forms of elastin (r = 0.42, p = 0.022) and collagen (r = 0.52, p = 0.003). Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated that cystatin C colocalized with elastin and collagen. No correlation was seen between cystatin C and the amount of degraded elastin or collagen in plaques. Conclusion: The positive correlation between cystatin C levels and collagen and elastin levels in plaques supports the notion that cystatin C plays an important role in maintaining atherosclerotic plaque stability. Copyright (c) 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-401
JournalJournal of Vascular Research
Volume45
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Hematopoietic Stem Cell Laboratory (013022012), Unit for Clinical Vascular Disease Research (013242410), Experimental Cardiovascular Research Unit (013242110)