In situ immunolocalization of lipoproteins in human arteriosclerotic tissue.
The concentration of serum lipoproteins, especially those of low density (LDL) and high density (HDL) lipoprotein, are related to the pathogenesis of arteriosclerosis. However, there is a lack of data concerning lipoprotein distribution in the human arteriosclerotic plaque. To detect these lipoproteins, we performed immunogold labeling on ultrathin sections of fixed and embedded human arteriosclerotic tissue. We used a panel of specific antibodies to different lipoproteins and their apolipoprotein constituents, namely LDL, formaldehyde-fixed LDL, apolipoprotein B-100, HDL, and formaldehyde-fixed apolipoprotein A-I. We also applied antibodies to alpha-actin and cathepsin D to characterize the cells and organelles involved in lipoprotein uptake and metabolism. Semiquantitative evaluation was carried out for a detailed comparison of the results obtained. Electron microscopic examination revealed that the majority of HDL and LDL in the pathological tissue was localized intracellularly in macrophage-derived foam cells and smooth muscle cells, whereas only LDL was found in the extracellular matrix. In some cases, we observed an intracellular accumulation of lipoproteins in electron-dense vesicles, which appeared to be of lysosomal origin, as shown by double labeling with an antibody to cathepsin D. These vesicles were present only in macrophage-derived foam cells, which were localized in the necrotic cores of arteriosclerotic plaques, and could not be found in healthy tissue or in the early stages of arteriosclerotic disease.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association