George Lyman Duff memorial lecture. Persistent problems in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.
In concluding this eclectic review, I believe that we can say with certainty that coronary atherosclerosis has its origins in childhood, at least by age 10 and possibly earlier. Endothelial changes follow lipid accumulation, but, with present methods, there is no evidence that endothelial injury precedes lipid accumulation. Proliferation is a prominent feature of accelerated experimental atherosclerosis, but we do not see evidence that proliferation is a major feature of early naturally occurring human atherosclerosis. The prominence of the monocyte-macrophage in the earliest detectable lesions of atherosclerosis in childhood justifies the current interest in monocyte biology. Hyperlipidemia, in the sense of the average high levels common in our population, seems almost certain to contribute to accelerated atherogenesis in children, but conclusive proof is still lacking. Mild hypertension in children, or even the high range of normal blood pressure, may accelerate the transition of innocuous childhood fatty streaks to more ominous fibrous plaques. The putative relationship of adult coronary heart disease risk factors to the childhood lesions of atherosclerosis is largely based on extrapolation from adult data. Direct evidence bearing on these relationships, however difficult to obtain, would be helpful in designing and promoting effective preventive regimens for children.
- Copyright © 1984 by American Heart Association