Characteristics of the aortic intima in young and old cebus and squirrel monkeys.
To document naturally occurring aortic intimal changes with age in squirrel and Cebus monkeys, the aortic lipid class composition, histology, and fine structure were quantitatively compared in the two species at birth and in old age. The aortic intima plus inner media in the young squirrel monkey contained more lipid, particularly in the phospholipid and cholesterol ester fractions than in young Cebus. The lipid class composition of the old Cebus monkey aorta resembled that of the young Cebus. In the old squirrel monkey aorta, cholesteryl ester, and to a lesser extent, free cholesterol were increased over young levels, while the phospholipid concentration tended to be lower. The aortic cholesteryl ester:phospholipid ratio increased with age in both species, but the old Cebus monkey aorta maintained the ratio below unity at 0.3, whereas the old squirrel monkey aorta ratio was 2.5. The abdominal aorta of the old squirrel monkey tended to have more lipid in each class than the thoracic segment. Morphologically, the old Cebus monkey aortic intima was similar to the young Cebus in terms of the intima:media ratio, intimal cellularity, and the distribution of intimal components determined by points in electron micrographs. In both age groups the Cebus monkey aorta was characterized by diffuse intimal thickening without lipid deposits. In contrast, that old squirrel monkey aorta had a much greater intima:media ratio, especially in the abdominal aorta, and a greater intimal cellularity than the young squirrel monkey. The distribution of intimal components in electron micrographs of the old squirrel monkey aorta shifted to a predominance of extracellular lipid, smooth muscle cells, and collagen. Deposits of small dense granules, presumably the products of cellular breakdown, were observed in aortic intimas and medias of both species in old age. Thus, differences between Cebus and squirrel monkey aortic intimas were evident at birth. By old age, the Cebus monkey aortic intima remodeled without accumulating lipid, whereas the squirrel monkey developed aortic intimal lesions resembling human atherosclerosis.
- Copyright © 1982 by American Heart Association