Daina Kashiwazaki, Naoki Akioka, Naoya Kuwayama, Tomohide Hayashi, Kyo Noguchi, Kortaro Tanaka and Satoshi Kuroda
The roles of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) in the development of carotid plaque are still obscure. This study aimed to clarify this by assessing the histological findings of specimens obtained from carotid endarterectomy.
This study included 34 patients who underwent carotid endarterectomy. MR imaging was performed to semiquantitatively analyze the components of the carotid plaques in all patients. The surgical specimens were subjected to immunohistochemistry. The distributions of the CD34-, CD133-, VEGF-2R–positive cells in the carotid plaques were precisely analyzed, and their number was quantified. Simultaneously, the CD34-positive microvessels were localized.
The plaque component was judged as lipid-rich plaque in 19 patients, intraplaque hemorrhage (IPH) in 11 patients, and fibrous plaque in 4 patients. The CD34-positive microvessels were densely distributed in the plaque shoulder and interface-to-media regions. The CD34-, CD133-, and VEGF-2R–positive cells were mainly localized around the CD34-positive microvessels. The number of CD34-positive microvessels significantly correlated with the number of CD34-, CD133-, and VEGF-2R–positive cells (R = 0.308, p = 0.009; R = 0.324, p = 0.006; and R = 0.296, p = 0.013, respectively). Vulnerable plaques (lipid-rich and IPH) had significantly higher numbers of the CD34-positive microvessels (p = 0.007) and CD34-, CD133-, and VEGF-2R–positive cells than fibrous plaques (p = 0.031, p = 0.013, and p = 0.002).
These findings strongly suggest that neovascularization in the plaque shoulder and interface-to-media regions may play a key role in delivering EPCs from the peripheral blood to the carotid plaque, promoting the growth of carotid plaque. Furthermore, the invaded EPCs, especially the CD133-positive immature EPCs, may be related to plaque vulnerability.
Daina Kashiwazaki, Tetsuyuki Yoshimoto, Taisei Mikami, Mutsuko Muraki, Shin Fujimoto, Kagari Abiko and Sadao Kaneko
Identification of the risk of rupture and vulnerability of arterial plaque is not yet clearly understood. The aim of this study was to assess the clinical features of the motion of intraplaque contents (MIC) detected by B-mode ultrasonography. The MIC is characterized by the peculiar movement of the intraplaque contents that is not synchronized with the heartbeat; however, the movement of the carotid artery (CA) wall depends on the heartbeat.
From January 2008 to November 2010, 1798 consecutive patients with transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) or acute ischemic stroke underwent CA ultrasonography for the examination of the MIC. Patients with CA stenosis greater than 50% were followed up until they underwent carotid endarterectomy or CA angioplasty and stent placement. If neither of these procedures were used, the patients were followed up at 90 days. Chi-square and Mann-Whitney tests were performed to compare the categorical and continuous demographic data and risk factors. The effect of the MIC on the rate of recurrent cerebral ischemia was examined using Kaplan-Meier and univariate Cox regression analyses.
One hundred and fifteen patients had CA stenosis greater than 50%. Among these 115 patients, 58 with a total of 59 CA stenoses had MIC. Twenty-four recurrent ischemic events were associated with MIC, whereas only 6 such events occurred in the absence of MIC. The MIC decreased event-free survival (log-rank test = 15.8, p < 0.001); univariate Cox analysis confirmed that MIC increased the risk of a recurrent ischemic event (HR 5.12, 95% CI 2.08–12.58; p < 0.001).
The MIC is one of the findings of vulnerable plaques. The MIC is more useful in predicting the recurrence of TIAs or ischemic events in patients with symptomatic CA stenosis.
Daina Kashiwazaki, Masaki Koh, Haruto Uchino, Naoki Akioka, Naoya Kuwayama, Kyo Noguchi and Satoshi Kuroda
The relationship between intraplaque hypoxia and intraplaque hemorrhage (IPH) has been reported, but the details remain obscure. In this study, the authors aimed to clarify the relationship among intraplaque hypoxia, endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), and neovascularization, which causes IPH. The histological findings of specimens obtained from carotid endarterectomy were assessed.
This study included 49 patients who underwent carotid endarterectomy. Magnetic resonance plaque imaging was performed to analyze the components of the carotid plaques, and surgical specimens were subjected to immunohistochemical analysis. The numbers of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α)–, CD34-, CD133-, and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2)–positive cells in the carotid plaques were precisely quantified, as were the number and maximum diameter of CD31-positive microvessels.
Plaque components were judged as fibrous in 7 samples, lipid-rich in 22, and IPH in 20. The number of CD34-, VEGFR-2–, and CD133-positive cells as an EPC-specific marker was significantly correlated with the number of HIF-1α–positive cells (r = 0.9, r = 0.82, and r = 0.81, respectively). These numbers varied among the 3 plaque components (IPH > lipid-rich > fibrous). The number and maximum luminal diameter of CD31-positive microvessels were also significantly correlated with the number of HIF-1α–positive cells (r = 0.85 and r = 0.89, respectively) and varied among the 3 plaque components (IPH > lipid-rich > fibrous).
The present findings suggest that intraplaque hypoxia may accelerate abnormal microvessel formation derived from EPCs, which in turn promotes IPH. The results also suggest that microvessel enlargement is a pivotal characteristic of IPH and these enlarged microvessels are immature endothelial tubes with disorganized branching and are fragile and prone to rupture.
Shusuke Yamamoto, Satoshi Hori, Daina Kashiwazaki, Naoki Akioka, Naoya Kuwayama and Satoshi Kuroda
This study aimed to assess longitudinal changes in the collateral channels originating from the lenticulostriate artery (LSA), posterior communicating artery (PCoA), and anterior and posterior choroidal arteries (AChA and PChA, respectively) during disease progression and/or aging. The impact of collateral channels on onset type was also examined.
This study included 71 involved hemispheres in 41 patients with moyamoya disease. The disease was categorized into 6 stages according to Suzuki’s angiographic staging system. The degree of development of each moyamoya vessel was categorized into 3 grades.
The LSA started to dilate in stage 2, showed the most prominent development in stage 3, and decreased in more advanced stages (p < 0.001). The AChA most notably developed in stage 3 and gradually shrank (p = 0.04). The PCoA started to dilate in stage 3 and showed the most prominent development in stage 4 (p = 0.03). The PChA started to dilate in stage 3 and showed the most prominent development in stages 4 to 5 (p < 0.001). Patient age was negatively related to LSA development (p = 0.01, R = 0.30) and was positively associated with the abnormal dilation and extension of the PCoA (p = 0.02, R = 0.28) and PChA (p < 0.001, R = 0.45). The PCoA, AChA, and PChA more distinctly developed in hemispheres with intracerebral or intraventricular hemorrhage than in hemispheres with ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (p < 0.001, p = 0.03, and p = 0.03, respectively).
This study suggests that the collateral channels through moyamoya vessels longitudinally shift from the anterior to posterior component during disease progression and aging, which may be closely related to the onset of hemorrhagic stroke in adult moyamoya disease.