Collagens in human atherosclerosis. Immunohistochemical analysis using collagen type-specific antibodies.
This study represents a systematic analysis of the distribution of collagen types in human atherosclerotic lesions. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded aortic tissues of 40 lesions from 16 different individuals ranging in age from 1 month to 84 years were examined immunohistochemically using antibodies to type I, III, IV, V, and VI collagens. Preembedding immunoelectron microscopy was used to simultaneously localize type V and VI collagens within the lesions. Localization of type III collagen was very similar to that of type I, and type VI collagen appeared together with these two types of collagen in the thickened intimas of all stages of the lesion. Type V collagen was not detected in either fatty streaks or the mild intimal thickening of the aortas of children. With advancing age and lesion progression, the immunoreactivity with anti-type V collagen antibody became more intense. Type IV collagen was detected in the basement membrane region of intimal cells. In advanced lesions thick deposits of type IV collagen were found around the elongated smooth muscle cells. Using immunoelectron microscopy, type V collagen was found to be localized to cross-banded collagen fibers, and type VI collagen was found to be localized to beaded filaments present throughout the interstitium of the thickened intima. These findings suggest that collagens preserve the pathophysiological and functional integrity of the vascular wall by providing mechanical support as well as assuring the proper interaction of cells during the formation of atherosclerotic lesions.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association