Fibulin-1 and fibrinogen in human atherosclerotic lesions
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Fibulin-1 is a fibrinogen-binding blood protein and a component of many extracellular matrices (ECM) including those of blood vessels. In this study, the deposition patterns of fibulin-1 and fibrinogen were examined in human coronary artery atherosclerotic lesions excised by atherectomy from 20 patients. Fibulin-1 deposition was found to be closely overlapping with fibrinogen located within the atherosclerotic lesions and in regions containing fresh thrombi. Pronounced intracellular fibulin-1 immunostaining was apparent in lesion areas rich in macrophages and foam cells, although THP-1 macrophages and foam cells were found not to express fibulin-1. Strong ECM deposition of fibulin-1 was observed in acellular atheromatous and myxomatous regions. By contrast, fibulin-1 was present at relatively low levels in the ECM associated with smooth muscle cells within and outside of lesions and was not detected in sclerotic regions. These results reveal the pattern of fibulin-1 within human atherosclerotic lesions and highlight the potential for fibulin-1, perhaps derived from the blood and acting in conjunction with fibrinogen, to play a role in the etiology and cardiovascular disease progression, particularly with respect to thrombotic aspects of atherosclerosis.
KeywordsFibulin-1 Fibrinogen Extracellular matrix Atherosclerosis
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