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

  • Isabel Goncalves
  • Mikko P S Ares
  • Anna Moberg
  • Jonatan Moses
  • Fong To
  • Jonathan Montan
  • Luís M Pedro
  • Nuno Dias
  • José Fernandes E Fernandes
  • Gunilla Nordin Fredrikson
  • Jan Nilsson
  • Stefan Jovinge
  • Eva Bengtsson
Publishing year: 2008
Language: English
Pages: 395-401
Publication/Series: Journal of Vascular Research
Volume: 45
Issue: 5
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Karger

Abstract english

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.


  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems


  • Experimental Cardiovascular Research Unit
  • Clinical Vascular Disease Research
  • ISSN: 1423-0135
E-mail: fong [dot] to [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

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