Intraplaque Microlumen and Atherosclerosis
Optical coherence tomography
Background: Coronary intraplaque microluminal structures (MS) are associated with plaque vulnerability, and the inward progression of vascular inflammation from the adventitia towards the media and intima has also been demonstrated. Therefore, in the present study we investigated the relationships among MS, local inflammation in adjacent epicardial adipose tissue (EAT), and coronary plaque characteristics.
Methods and Results: Optical coherence tomography (OCT) revealed MS in the left anterior descending coronary artery in 10 fresh cadaveric hearts. We sampled 30 lesions and subdivided them based on the presence of MS: MS (+) group (n=19) and MS (−) group (n=11). We measured inflammatory molecule levels in the adjacent EAT and percentage lipid volume assessed by integrated backscatter intravascular ultrasound in each lesion. The expression levels of vascular endothelial growth factor B and C-C motif chemokine ligand 2 were significantly higher in the MS (+) group than in the MS (−) group (0.9±0.7 vs. 0.2±0.2 arbitrary units (AU), P=0.04 and 1.5±0.5 vs. 0.6±0.7 AU, P=0.02, respectively). Percentage lipid volume was significantly higher in the MS (+) group than in the MS (−) group (38.7±16.5 vs. 23.7±10.9%, P=0.03).
Conclusions: Intraplaque MS observed on OCT were associated with lipid-rich plaques and local inflammation in the adjacent EAT. Collectively, these results suggest that local inflammation in the EAT is associated with coronary plaque vulnerability via MS.
The Japanese Circulation Society
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