Histological changes and risk factor associations in type 2 atherosclerotic lesions (fatty streaks) in young adults

Satoki Homma, Dana A. Troxclair, Arthur W. Zieske, Gray T. Malcom, Jack P. Strong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate which histological changes associated with risk factors could contribute to the progression from the initial atherosclerotic lesions including fatty streaks to the advanced lesions. Methods: We examined the associations of histomorphometric findings in the determined anatomical sites of mid-thoracic aortas (TAs) and left anterior descending coronary arteries (LADs) with major risk factors for atherosclerosis, using a young autopsied series from the the Pathobiological Determinants of Atherosclerosis in Youth (PDAY) study. The histological classification by the American Heart Association was graded for 1013 TAs and 1009 LADs. Histometric study, including immunohistochemistry, was performed in type 2 lesions (fatty streaks) of TAs from 59 subjects and LADs from 45 ones. Results: For the progression from the initial lesions into the advanced atherosclerotic lesions, the most effective lipid profiles were low plasma HDL-C in TA and elevated serum non-HDL-C in LAD. This lipid profile of each artery correlated with number or density of intimal smooth muscle cell-derived foam cells, respectively. The serum concentration of non-HDL-C correlated with macrophage foam cells in TAs. Hypertension and hyperglycemia were associated with increase of intimal area and/or collagen content in both arteries, but not with either types of foam cell proliferation. Smoking correlated with increased collagen content in TAs. Conclusion: There were histologically different ways of progressing from fatty streaks to advanced atherosclerotic lesions depending on the risk factors. For the atherosclerosis progression from type 2 lesions to advanced lesions, increase in number of smooth muscle cell-derived foam cells could be an important indicator.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-190
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Aorta
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Fatty streaks
  • Histomorphometry
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Risk factors
  • Smooth muscle foam cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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