Purpose: Hypertension is a known clinical risk factor for atherosclerosis. In experimental atherosclerosis, monocyte adhesion to the endothelial surface is enhanced and is considered to be an important early stage in plaque formation. We tested the hypothesis that hypertension enhances monocyte adhesion in experimental atherosclerosis. Methods: Twenty two New Zealand White rabbits were fed an atherogenic diet for 3 weeks to induce plaque formation. Aortic coarctation was created in eight rabbits by wrapping a Dacron band around the midportion of the descending thoracic aorta (stenosis group), whereas six rabbits underwent banding without aortic constriction (no stenosis group). Eight rabbits served as nonoperated controls. Monocyte binding to the aortic endothelial surface was counted with epifluorescent microscopy on standard aortic segments proximal and distal to the band. Immunohistochemistry was performed for the following antibodies: VCAM-1, RAM11, CD11b, and factor VIII. Results: Mean blood pressure was 89 ± 3 mm Hg in the aorta proximal to the stenosis, compared with 64 ± 4 mm Hg in the no stenosis group and 74 ± 3 mm Hg in the control group (p < 0.01). The mean aortic blood pressure gradient across the stenosis was 16 ± 2 mm Hg in the stenosis group, whereas the aortic blood pressure gradient was 0.2 ± 0.6 mm Hg in the no stenosis group and -0.3 ± 0.4 mm Hg in the control group (p < 0.001). Monocyte adhesion to the aortic endothelial surface proximal to the stenosis was increased twofold compared with adhesion to the aorta distal to the stenosis and compared with the proximal aorta in the control group (p < 0.02). The proximal-to-distal aortic ratio of monocyte binding was enhanced in the stenosis group (2.2) compared with the no stenosis (0.76) and control (0.83) groups (p < 0.01). The intima area of the aorta proximal to the stenosis was significantly increased compared with the proximal aortas in the no stenosis and control groups (p < 0.01). RAM11, CD11b, and endothelial VCAM-1 expression were enhanced in the hypertensive region proximal to the stenosis. Conclusions: In the hypertensive region in the aorta proximal to the stenosis, monocyte adhesion and endothelial VCAM-1 expression were increased, with intimal thickening and accumulation of macrophages. These findings suggest that hypertension may promote atherosclerotic plaque formation by enhancing monocyte adhesion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine