Assessment of MMP-9, TIMP-1, and COX-2 in normal tissue and in advanced symptomatic and asymptomatic carotid plaquesReport as inadecuate

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Thrombosis Journal

, 9:6

First Online: 03 April 2011Received: 13 December 2010Accepted: 03 April 2011


BackgroundMature carotid plaques are complex structures, and their histological classification is challenging. The carotid plaques of asymptomatic and symptomatic patients could exhibit identical histological components.

ObjectivesTo investigate whether matrix metalloproteinase 9 MMP-9, tissue inhibitor of MMP TIMP, and cyclooxygenase-2 COX-2 have different expression levels in advanced symptomatic carotid plaques, asymptomatic carotid plaques, and normal tissue.

MethodsThirty patients admitted for carotid endarterectomy were selected. Each patient was assigned preoperatively to one of two groups: group I consisted of symptomatic patients n = 16, 12 males, mean age 66.7 ± 6.8 years, and group II consisted of asymptomatic patients n = 14, 8 males, mean age 67.6 ± 6.81 years. Nine normal carotid arteries were used as control. Tissue specimens were analyzed for fibromuscular, lipid and calcium contents. The expressions of MMP-9, TIMP-1 and COX-2 in each plaque were quantified.

ResultsFifty-eight percent of all carotid plaques were classified as Type VI according to the American Heart Association Committee on Vascular Lesions. The control carotid arteries all were classified as Type III. The median percentage of fibromuscular tissue was significantly greater in group II compared to group I p < 0.05. The median percentage of lipid tissue had a tendency to be greater in group I than in group II p = 0.057. The percentages of calcification were similar among the two groups. MMP-9 protein expression levels were significantly higher in group II and in the control group when compared with group I p < 0.001. TIMP-1 expression levels were significantly higher in the control group and in group II when compared to group I, with statistical difference between control group and group I p = 0.010. COX-2 expression levels did not differ among groups. There was no statistical correlation between MMP-9, COX-2, and TIMP-1 levels and fibrous tissue.

ConclusionsMMP-9 and TIMP-1 are present in all stages of atherosclerotic plaque progression, from normal tissue to advanced lesions. When sections of a plaque are analyzed without preselection, MMP-9 concentration is higher in normal tissues and asymptomatic surgical specimens than in symptomatic specimens, and TIMP-1 concentration is higher in normal tissue than in symptomatic specimens.

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Author: Liz Andréa V Baroncini - Lia S Nakao - Simone G Ramos - Antonio Pazin Filho - Luiz Otávio MurtaJr - Max Ingberman - C


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