28 October 1999
Recent studies demonstrate increased cellular adhesion molecule expression by neointimal endothelium overlying primary and restenotic atherosclerotic plaque. In this study, we developed an atherosclerotic mouse model of arterial injury and characterized adhesion molecule expression after injury. Sixteen apolipoprotein-E-(ApoE)-deficient mice fed a Western-type diet for 4 weeks underwent carotid artery wire denudation at week 2. For each segment, the extent of neointima formation and medial thickening, or adhesion molecule expression, were scored separately on a scale from 0 (no plaque/thickening or expression) to 3 (extensive plaque/thickening or expression) using Movat staining (n = 3) or immunohistochemical analysis (n = 13). Histology revealed significant medial thickening (1.8 ± 0.9 vs. 0.3 ± 0.5, p < 0.001) versus controls and pronounced staining for monocytes/macrophages in the wall of injured vessels. Immunohistochemical analysis showed more robust expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) on the luminal surface of injured arteries versus controls (2.2 ± 0.6 vs. 1.4 ± 0.7, p < 0.01, and 2.5 ± 0.5 vs. 1.2 ± 0.6, p < 0.001, respectively). Injury increased adventitial ICAM-1 expression (2.6 ± 0.5 vs. 1.6 ± 0.5, p < 0.002) and medial VCAM-1 expression (2.2 ± 0.6 vs. 1.2 ± 0.7, p < 0.004). Thus, carotid injury results in significant medial thickening and increases adhesion molecule expression beyond that induced in ApoE-deficient mice fed a Western diet alone. The observation of macrophage infiltration into the media at sites of increased ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression suggests that these molecules may mediate monocyte/macrophage trafficking into the wall of injured arteries.