Author(s): Tsujita K, Sakamoto K, Kojima S, Takaoka N, Tayama S
Background Coronary spasm plays an important role in the pathogenesis of ischemic heart disease. However, tissue components of coronary plaque in patients with vasospastic angina (VSA) have been unknown. This study used virtual histology (VH)-intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) to elucidate the tissue component of spastic coronary arteries and its gender differences in patients with VSA. Methods According to acetylcholine provocation tests, the study subjects (42 patients [19 men, 23 women, 61 ± 13 years]) were divided into 2 groups: the VSA group of 26 patients and the non-VSA group of 16 patients. After nitrate injection, IVUS volumetric analysis was done, and the parameters were compared between the groups. Results Although clinical demographics were almost identical between the groups, VSA group had lower plasma adiponectin level (5.9 ± 3.3 μg/ml vs. 11.2 ± 7.6 μg/ml, p = 0.007) and tended to have higher high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (0.15 ± 0.24 mg/dl vs. 0.06 ± 0.04 mg/dl, p = 0.1) than non-VSA group. VSA group had diffusely thickened intima (% plaque volume, 34 ± 11% vs. 27 ± 7%, p = 0.01) compared with non-VSA group. However, plaque components of patients with VSA were similar with that of non-VSA patients (dense calcium, 4 ± 6% vs. 3 ± 4%; necrotic core, 10 ± 9% vs. 8 ± 6%; fibrofatty, 19 ± 16% vs. 22 ± 11%; and fibrous, 67 ± 16% vs. 67 ± 9%). Although male patients with VSA had atherogenic lipid and metabolic profiles than female VSA patients, there were no significant gender differences in the volumetric IVUS parameters and plaque components. Conclusions Compared with non-VSA patients, VSA patients had diffusely thickened fibrous-dominant coronary plaque without gender difference, and that might suggest the role of vasospasm in the development of atherosclerosis.