Author(s): Faber BC, Cleutjens KB, Niessen RL, Aarts PL, Boon W,
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Abstract Although rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque is the major cause of acute vascular occlusion, the exact molecular mechanisms underlying this process are still poorly understood. In this study, we used suppression subtractive hybridization to make an inventory of genes that are differentially expressed in whole-mount human stable and ruptured plaques. Two libraries were generated, one containing 3000 clones upregulated and one containing 2000 clones downregulated in ruptured plaques. Macroarray analysis of 500 randomly chosen clones showed differential expression of 45 clones. Among the 25 clones that showed at least a 2-fold difference in expression was the gene of perilipin, upregulated in ruptured plaques, and the genes coding for fibronectin and immunoglobulin lambda chain, which were downregulated in ruptured plaques. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis on 10 individual ruptured and 10 individual stable plaques showed a striking consistency of expression for the clones SSH6, present in 8 ruptured and 2 stable plaques, and perilipin, expressed in 8 ruptured plaques and completely absent in stable plaques. Localization studies of both perilipin mRNA and protein revealed expression in cells surrounding the cholesterol clefts and in foam cells of ruptured atherosclerotic plaques. No expression was observed in nondiseased artery, and only a few cells in the shoulder region of stable plaques tested positive for perilipin. In conclusion, this study shows that it is possible to identify genes that are differentially expressed in whole-mount stable or ruptured atherosclerotic plaques. This approach may yield several potential regulators of plaque destabilization.
This article was published in Circ Res
and referenced in Journal of Molecular Biomarkers & Diagnosis