IN VIVO, vol.29, no.2, pp.229-235, 2015 (SCI-Expanded)
Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate the gene expression levels of elastin and fibulin-5 according to differences between carotid plaque regions and to correlate it with clinical features of plaque destabilization. Materials and Methods: The study included 44 endarterectomy specimens available from operated symptomatic carotid artery stenoses. The specimens were separated according to anatomic location: internal carotid artery (ICA), external carotid artery (ECA) and common carotid artery (CCA), and then stored in liquid nitrogen. The amounts of cDNA for elastin and fibulin-5 were determined by Quantitative real-time PCR (Q-RT-PCR). Target gene copy numbers were normalized using hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT1) gene. The delta-delta CT method was applied for relative quantification. Results: Q-RT-PCR data showed that relative fibulin-5 gene expression was increased in ICA plaque regions when compared to CCA regions but not reaching significance (p=0.061). At the same time, no differences were observed in elastin mRNA level between different anatomic plaque regions (p>0.05). Moreover, elastin and fibulin-5 mRNA expression and clinical parameters were compared in ICA plaques versus CCA and ECA regions, respectively. Up-regulation of elastin and fibulin-5 mRNA levels in ICA were strongly correlated with family history of cardiovascular disease when compared to CCA (p<0.05). Up-regulation of fibulin-5 in ICA was significantly associated with diabetes, and elevated triglycerides and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) when compared to ECA (p<0.05). Conclusion: The clinical significance is the differences between the proximal and distal regions of the lesion, associated with the ICA, CCA and ECA respectively, with increased fibulin-5 in the ICA region.