Biochemical composition of coronary arteries in Finnish children.
To study the early features of atherosclerosis, we analyzed coronary artery intima medias from 63 boys and 30 girls who were newborn to 15 years old at the time of accidental death. Fatty streaks were found in five boys and one girl and, with one exception, were not present until the second decade of life. From birth there was a continuous increase in esterified cholesterol (EC) and a two- to threefold rise in free cholesterol and phospholipid. DNA, total protein, and collagen tended to rise after the first decade. The content of hyaluronic acid remained fairly constant, but sulphated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) rose during the second decade; the highest increases were in dermatan and chondroitin sulphates. The content of arterial EC showed significant positive correlations with those of GAGs, but associations with the contents of DNA, total protein, and collagen were not significant. As judged by the observed gradual increase in arterial EC and a change in its fatty acid composition, there is a continuous increase with age in LDL-derived EC in the arterial wall. The mechanism of this accumulation is unknown, but the findings provide circumstantial evidence to support the concept that arterial GAGs may cause retention of plasma-derived lipids, which may subsequently be altered and internalized by the intimal cells.
- Copyright © 1986 by American Heart Association