Immunostaining of Human Autopsy Aortas With Antibodies to Modified Apolipoprotein B and Apoprotein(a)

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A systematic immunohistochemical study of different stages of atherosclerosis in human aortas was performed using several antibodies. Because oxidation of lipoproteins could be a key event in atherogenesis, an antibody against apolipoprotein B (apoB) from low-density lipoprotein (LDL) modified with the lipid peroxidation-specific aldehyde, 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) (anti-4-HNE-apoB), was raised in rabbits. This antibody recognizing 4-HNE protein adducts was used in concert with an antibody to apo(a) from lipoprotein(a), considered also potentially atherogenic, as well as with an antibody and a monoclonal antibody (mAb) to apoB. Autopsy material from 12 corpses was investigated. The immunohistochemical investigation by the alkaline-phosphatase technique included control specimens regarding postmortem artifacts by autolysis and oxidation. The results from six specimens from five corpses are presented. A positive staining with the antibody to apoB but not with anti-4-HNE-apoB was seen in the normal intima. The thickened intima of early, transitional, and advanced atherosclerotic lesions and atheromata showed a predominantly extracellular staining with all antibodies and the applied mAb. To test the specificity of the staining, antibodies preadsorbed by the appropriate antigens and nonimmune sera were used, giving negative results. These findings indicated a colocalization of epitopes derived from lipid peroxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids and epitopes specific for apoB and apo(a) during atherogenesis in humans.

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