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      Atherosclerotic Plaque Morphology Indicates Clinical Symptoms of Plaque Progression

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          Abstract

          Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between plaque morphology and the plaque progression (PP) that occurs despite routine medical therapy and better risk-factor control. Methods: A total of 183 patients who received baseline and follow-up coronary angiography were divided into 2 groups, the PP group (n = 78) and the non-PP group (n = 105). Optical coherence tomography (OCT) was performed after baseline coronary angiography. The plaque characteristics were noted and the fibrous cap thickness was measured at the thinnest point of each plaque. Macrophages in the fibrous cap were detected, and the macrophage content was measured based on the signal attenuation. Results: The level of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein was higher in the PP group (p = 0.001). The OCT examination showed that the proportion of lipid-rich plaques in the PP group was higher than that in the non-PP group (p < 0.001). Calcified plaques were detected frequently in the non-PP group (p < 0.001). Macrophages in the fibrous cap were detected frequently in the PP group (p < 0.001), and the macrophage content was significantly greater than that in the non-PP group (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Lipid-rich plaques with large numbers of macrophages were prone to PP, whereas the progression of calcified plaques was rare.

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          Most cited references 16

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          Effect of very high-intensity statin therapy on regression of coronary atherosclerosis: the ASTEROID trial.

          Prior intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) trials have demonstrated slowing or halting of atherosclerosis progression with statin therapy but have not shown convincing evidence of regression using percent atheroma volume (PAV), the most rigorous IVUS measure of disease progression and regression. To assess whether very intensive statin therapy could regress coronary atherosclerosis as determined by IVUS imaging. Prospective, open-label blinded end-points trial (A Study to Evaluate the Effect of Rosuvastatin on Intravascular Ultrasound-Derived Coronary Atheroma Burden [ASTEROID]) was performed at 53 community and tertiary care centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. A motorized IVUS pullback was used to assess coronary atheroma burden at baseline and after 24 months of treatment. Each pair of baseline and follow-up IVUS assessments was analyzed in a blinded fashion. Between November 2002 and October 2003, 507 patients had a baseline IVUS examination and received at least 1 dose of study drug. After 24 months, 349 patients had evaluable serial IVUS examinations. All patients received intensive statin therapy with rosuvastatin, 40 mg/d. Two primary efficacy parameters were prespecified: the change in PAV and the change in nominal atheroma volume in the 10-mm subsegment with the greatest disease severity at baseline. A secondary efficacy variable, change in normalized total atheroma volume for the entire artery, was also prespecified. The mean (SD) baseline low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level of 130.4 (34.3) mg/dL declined to 60.8 (20.0) mg/dL, a mean reduction of 53.2% (P<.001). Mean (SD) high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level at baseline was 43.1 (11.1) mg/dL, increasing to 49.0 (12.6) mg/dL, an increase of 14.7% (P<.001). The mean (SD) change in PAV for the entire vessel was -0.98% (3.15%), with a median of -0.79% (97.5% CI, -1.21% to -0.53%) (P<.001 vs baseline). The mean (SD) change in atheroma volume in the most diseased 10-mm subsegment was -6.1 (10.1) mm3, with a median of -5.6 mm3 (97.5% CI, -6.8 to -4.0 mm3) (P<.001 vs baseline). Change in total atheroma volume showed a 6.8% median reduction; with a mean (SD) reduction of -14.7 (25.7) mm3, with a median of -12.5 mm3 (95% CI, -15.1 to -10.5 mm3) (P<.001 vs baseline). Adverse events were infrequent and similar to other statin trials. Very high-intensity statin therapy using rosuvastatin 40 mg/d achieved an average LDL-C of 60.8 mg/dL and increased HDL-C by 14.7%, resulting in significant regression of atherosclerosis for all 3 prespecified IVUS measures of disease burden. Treatment to LDL-C levels below currently accepted guidelines, when accompanied by significant HDL-C increases, can regress atherosclerosis in coronary disease patients. Further studies are needed to determine the effect of the observed changes on clinical outcome. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00240318.
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            Myocardial infarction accelerates atherosclerosis

            SUMMARY During progression of atherosclerosis, myeloid cells destabilize lipid-rich plaque in the arterial wall and cause its rupture, thus triggering myocardial infarction and stroke. Survivors of acute coronary syndromes have a high risk of recurrent events for unknown reasons. Here we show that the systemic response to ischemic injury aggravates chronic atherosclerosis. After myocardial infarction or stroke, apoE−/− mice developed larger atherosclerotic lesions with a more advanced morphology. This disease acceleration persisted over many weeks and was associated with markedly increased monocyte recruitment. When seeking the source of surplus monocytes in plaque, we found that myocardial infarction liberated hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells from bone marrow niches via sympathetic nervous system signaling. The progenitors then seeded the spleen yielding a sustained boost in monocyte production. These observations provide new mechanistic insight into atherogenesis and provide a novel therapeutic opportunity to mitigate disease progression.
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              Effect of intensive compared with moderate lipid-lowering therapy on progression of coronary atherosclerosis: a randomized controlled trial.

              Statin drugs reduce both atherogenic lipoproteins and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. However, the optimal strategy and target level for lipid reduction remain uncertain. To compare the effect of regimens designed to produce intensive lipid lowering or moderate lipid lowering on coronary artery atheroma burden and progression. Double-blind, randomized active control multicenter trial (Reversal of Atherosclerosis with Aggressive Lipid Lowering [REVERSAL]) performed at 34 community and tertiary care centers in the United States comparing the effects of 2 different statins administered for 18 months. Intravascular ultrasound was used to measure progression of atherosclerosis. Between June 1999 and September 2001, 654 patients were randomized and received study drug; 502 had evaluable intravascular ultrasound examinations at baseline and after 18 months of treatment. Patients were randomly assigned to receive a moderate lipid-lowering regimen consisting of 40 mg of pravastatin or an intensive lipid-lowering regimen consisting of 80 mg of atorvastatin. The primary efficacy parameter was the percentage change in atheroma volume (follow-up minus baseline). Baseline low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (mean, 150.2 mg/dL [3.89 mmol/L] in both treatment groups) was reduced to 110 mg/dL (2.85 mmol/L) in the pravastatin group and to 79 mg/dL (2.05 mmol/L) in the atorvastatin group (P<.001). C-reactive protein decreased 5.2% with pravastatin and 36.4% with atorvastatin (P<.001). The primary end point (percentage change in atheroma volume) showed a significantly lower progression rate in the atorvastatin (intensive) group (P =.02). Similar differences between groups were observed for secondary efficacy parameters, including change in total atheroma volume (P =.02), change in percentage atheroma volume (P<.001), and change in atheroma volume in the most severely diseased 10-mm vessel subsegment (P<.01). For the primary end point, progression of coronary atherosclerosis occurred in the pravastatin group (2.7%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.2% to 4.7%; P =.001) compared with baseline. Progression did not occur in the atorvastatin group (-0.4%; CI -2.4% to 1.5%; P =.98) compared with baseline. For patients with coronary heart disease, intensive lipid-lowering treatment with atorvastatin reduced progression of coronary atherosclerosis compared with pravastatin. Compared with baseline values, patients treated with atorvastatin had no change in atheroma burden, whereas patients treated with pravastatin showed progression of coronary atherosclerosis. These differences may be related to the greater reduction in atherogenic lipoproteins and C- reactive protein in patients treated with atorvastatin.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                CRD
                Cardiology
                10.1159/issn.0008-6312
                Cardiology
                S. Karger AG
                0008-6312
                1421-9751
                2014
                November 2014
                18 October 2014
                : 129
                : 4
                : 207-212
                Affiliations
                Department of Cardiology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing, China
                Author notes
                *Tian Feng, Department of Cardiology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, No. 28, Fuxing Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100853 (China), E-Mail tianf327@126.com
                Article
                365185 Cardiology 2014;129:207-212
                10.1159/000365185
                25359501
                © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 2, Pages: 6
                Categories
                Original Research

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