Arterial wall cholesterol content is a predictor of development and severity of arterial thrombosis

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Abstract

Background

It is unclear if total cholesterol content contributes to the severity of cardiovascular events by affecting the amount of thrombosis. This study evaluated relationships between cholesterol levels and the amount of thrombosis in an atherosclerotic rabbit model of plaque disruption and thrombosis.

Methods

Three groups of NZW rabbits were used: normal rabbits (Group I, n = 4); atherosclerotic rabbits (Group II, n = 4); and atherosclerotic rabbits with pharmacologically triggered thrombosis (Group III, n = 16). Atherosclerosis was induced by feeding a cholesterol enriched diet and balloon deendothelialization. At post-mortem, platelet-rich thrombus and arterial wall cholesterol were quantified and histology performed by light and electron microscopy.

Results

Arterial wall cholesterol was strongly correlated to serum cholesterol in all groups (r = 0.94, p < 0.0001). There was a significant correlation between the thrombus surface area with arterial wall cholesterol in Group III (r = 0.71, p < 0.002). Serum cholesterol, arterial wall cholesterol, and thrombus surface area were all significantly correlated but only arterial wall cholesterol was an independent predictor of thrombosis. A threshold specific for this model was noted for serum and arterial cholesterol levels above which thrombosis consistently occurred.

Conclusions

Arterial wall cholesterol was strongly correlated to serum cholesterol and thrombosis severity. Serum cholesterol, arterial wall cholesterol and thrombus surface area were all integrally related.

Condensed Abstract

A model of plaque disruption and thrombosis was used to demonstrate a correlation between serum and arterial wall cholesterol (r = 0.94; p < 0.0001); arterial wall cholesterol and the amount of thrombosis (surface area; r = 0.71, p < 0.002). A threshold of serum and arterial cholesterol was determined at which thrombosis occurred in this model.

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