Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 189, Issue 2, pp 420–425 | Cite as

Multiple Non-Essential Transition Metals Are Accumulated in Carotid Atherosclerotic Plaques: Missing Link in Atherosclerosis?

  • Ayhan OlcayEmail author
  • Erdem Tezcan
  • Emir Canturk
  • Bekir İnan
  • Hasan Karaoglu
  • Ceyhun Kucuk
  • Baris Akdemir
  • Onur Yolay


Population studies revealed that metal exposure through food, environment, and smoking was related with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In this study, we determined complex chemical elements in surgical carotid endarterectomy specimens and carotid tissues from autopsies without atherosclerosis. Atherosclerotic plaques from 41 endarterectomies and normal carotid tissue from 30 autopsies were collected and elemental composition was determined by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) method. Eleven (26.8%) patients never smoked in carotid endarterectomy group. One patient was brass souvenir worker and one was goldsmith and others did not have direct contact with metals in the carotid endarterectomy group. Na, Cu, Mn, Bi, Co, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sb, Se, Sn, Ti, and W levels were not different between two groups. Bi, Co, Mo, Pb, Ti, and W were below the detection limit of ICP-OES in both groups. Concentrations of Mg, K, Ca, P, Fe, B, Zn, Al, As, Cr, Pt, and Hg were significantly higher in carotid endarterectomies than normal carotid tissue samples. Cd and S values were significantly higher in autopsy samples. There is significant multiple non-essential transition metal accumulation in atherosclerotic carotid endarterectomy plaques. The cardiovascular consequences of metal toxicity have not been researched adequately due to large emphasis on the role of cholesterol in atherosclerosis. High level of non-essential transition metal elements in the carotid atherosclerotic plaques may add the missing link of atherogenesis and may necessitate new treatment and prevention strategies in carotid disease if confirmed by further research.


Atherosclerosis Endarterectomy Non-essential transition metal Heavy metal 



We thank Gamze Karacan and Ufuk Yetik for their valuable efforts in sample transport and conservation.

Financial Support

This study was financed by the authors’ own resources.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The study was carried out in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and protocol was reviewed and approved by the Ethics Committee of İstanbul Aydin University (2018-15).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cardiologyİstanbul Aydin University Medical SchoolKüçükçekmeceTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Nutrition and Dieteticsİstanbul Gedik UniversityİstanbulTurkey
  3. 3.Department of Cardiovascular SurgeryBezmialem Vakif UniversityİstanbulTurkey
  4. 4.İstanbul Institute of Forensic MedicineİstanbulTurkey
  5. 5.Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Nutrition and Dieteticsİstanbul Aydin UniversityİstanbulTurkey

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