Role of endothelium and hypercholesterolemia in intimal thickening and lipid accumulation

C. R. Minick, M. B. Stemerman, William Insull

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88 Scopus citations


In experiments reported here the authors tested the hypothesis that persistent absence of endothelium favors intimal thickening, lipid accumulation, and atherosclerosis. Rabbit aortas were de-endothelialized with a balloon catheter at Day 0. Initially, all rabbits were fed a diet low in lipid. Some rabbits (Group I) were continued on a diet low in lipid for 8 to 20 weeks after de-endothelialization. Beginning 4 to 9 weeks after de-endothelialization, other rabbits were fed semisynthetic lipid-rich diets (Group II) or cholesterol-supplemented diets (Group III) for 4 to 20 weeks. Lipid accumulation in all groups was significantly greater in the re-endothelialized intima than in adjacent intima lacking an endothelial lining. In aortas of Groups I, II, and III the degree of intimal thickening was significantly greater in re-endothelialized areas tha in adjacent areas lacking endothelium. Intimal thickness was enhanced in re-endothelialized areas of hypercholesterolemic rabbits of Group III compared with normocholesterolemic rabbits of Group I but not in areas lacking endothelium. Thus results of these experiments do not support the hypothesis that the absence of endothelium particularly favors intimal thickening and intimal lipid accumulation. Results indicate that intima covered by regenerated endothelium is significantly thicker and more likely to accumulate lipid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-158
Number of pages28
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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