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Clinicopathological significance of lipid peroxidation in carotid plaques

      Abstract

      Several reports have suggested an association between lipid peroxidation and human carotid atherosclerosis, but few reports have demonstrated a link between lipid peroxidation and carotid plaques in humans. In this study, we investigated the relationship between clinical features, histopathological characteristics and lipid peroxidation in patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy (CEA). Forty-one carotid plaques were obtained. A portion of the most severe lesions was subjected to histopathologic examination, and the remainder of the plaques examined for lipid peroxidation. Thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) values were determined as a marker for lipid peroxidation. The lipid-rich core (LC) and macrophage infiltration (Mφ) component as a percentage of total plaque area were measured morphometrically. Based on the results, all plaques were classified into four groups. Group I (GI): LC <10%; Group IIa (GIIa): LC 10–30%, Mφ <5%; Group IIb (GIIb): LC 10–30%, Mφ ≥5%, and Group III (GIII): LC ≥30%. The plaque TBARS values of GIII were significantly higher than those of GI, GIIa, and GIIb. The TBARS values of GIIb were one-and-a-half times higher than those of GIIa. Our results show that lipid peroxidation in carotid plaques is significantly associated with carotid atherosclerosis, especially plaque instability. These findings provide direct evidence of an association between lipid peroxidation and human atherosclerosis.

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