Experimental Cardiovascular Research Unit

Malmö, Sweden

Experimental Cardiovascular Research Unit

Malmö, Sweden

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Edsfeldt A.,Experimental Cardiovascular Research Unit | Nitulescu M.,Experimental Cardiovascular Research Unit | Grufman H.,Experimental Cardiovascular Research Unit | Grufman H.,Lund University | And 9 more authors.
Stroke | Year: 2012

Background and Purpose: Recently, plasma soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) has gained interest as a marker of cardiovascular risk. suPAR is released through the cleavage of urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), which is found in monocytes, activated T-lymphocytes and endothelial cells, all involved in atherosclerosis. suPAR levels have been well studied in plasma, but no studies have focused on suPAR in human atherosclerotic plaques. The aim of this study was to determine whether suPAR measured in the plaque is associated with symptomatic plaques and plaque inflammation. Methods: Plasma and carotid plaques from 162 patients were analyzed. Lipids, collagen, uPAR, and macrophages were measured histologically. Cytokines and suPAR were measured in homogenized plaque extracts using multiplex immunoassay and ELISA, respectively. Plasma levels of suPAR were analysed with ELISA. CD3, CD4, as well as uPAR mRNA expression were assessed with quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction in plaque homogenates from 123 patients. Results: Plaque and plasma suPAR levels were higher in symptomatic patients compared with asymptomatic patients. Plaque suPAR levels correlated with plaque content of lipids and macrophages and with proinflammatory chemokines and cytokines monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, tumor necrosis factor α, interleukin 1β, interleukin 6, platelet-derived growth factor AB/BB, monocyte inflammatory protein 1β, regulated on activation normal T-cell expressed and secreted, and s-CD40L. uPAR mRNA and histological staining for uPAR correlated with plaque content of suPAR. Conclusion - This study shows that suPAR in human carotid plaques and plasma is associated with the presence of symptoms and that plaque suPAR is associated with the vulnerable inflammatory plaque. These findings strengthen the hypothesis of suPAR as a future marker of vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques. © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.


Back M.,Experimental Cardiovascular Research Unit | Hansson G.K.,Experimental Cardiovascular Research Unit
Nature Reviews Cardiology | Year: 2015

The view of atherosclerosis as an inflammatory disease has emerged from observations of immune activation and inflammatory signalling in human atherosclerotic lesions, from the definition of inflammatory biomarkers as independent risk factors for cardiovascular events, and from evidence of low-density lipoprotein-induced immune activation. Studies in animal models of hyperlipidaemia have also supported the beneficial effects of countering inflammation to delay atherosclerosis progression. Specific inflammatory pathways with relevance to human diseases have been identified, and inhibitors of these pathways are either already in use for the treatment of other diseases, or are under development and evaluation. These include 'classic' drugs (such as allopurinol, colchicine, and methotrexate), biologic therapies (for example tumour necrosis factor inhibitors and IL-1 neutralization), as well as targeting of lipid mediators (such as phospholipase inhibitors and antileukotrienes) or intracellular pathways (inhibition of NADPH oxidase, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, or phosphodiesterase). The evidence supporting the use of anti-inflammatory therapies for atherosclerosis is mainly based on either observational or small interventional studies evaluating surrogate markers of disease activity. Nevertheless, these data are crucial to understand the role of inflammation in atherosclerosis, and to design randomized controlled studies to evaluate the effect of specific anti-inflammatory strategies on cardiovascular outcomes. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited.


Folkersen L.,Atherosclerosis Research Unit | Folkersen L.,Experimental Cardiovascular Research Unit | Van't Hooft F.,Atherosclerosis Research Unit | Chernogubova E.,Atherosclerosis Research Unit | And 10 more authors.
Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics | Year: 2010

Background-Population-based genome-wide association studies have identified several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with cardiovascular disease or its risk factors. Genes in close proximity to these risk-SNPs are often thought to be pathogenetically important based on their location alone. However, the actual connections between SNPs and disease mechanisms remain largely unknown. Methods and Results-To identify novel susceptibility genes, we investigated how 166 SNPs previously found to be associated with increased cardiovascular risk and/or predisposing metabolic traits relate to the expression of nearby genes. Gene expression in 577 samples of aorta, liver, mammary artery, and carotid atherosclerotic plaque was measured using expression arrays. For 47 SNPs, the expression levels of proximal genes (located within 200 kb) were affected (P=0.005). More than 20 of these genes had not previously been identified as candidate genes for cardiovascular or related metabolic traits. SNP-associated gene effects were tissue-specific and the tissue specificity was phenotype-dependent. Conclusions-This study demonstrates several instances of association between risk-SNPs and genes immediately adjacent to them. It also demonstrates instances in which the associated gene is not the immediately proximal and obvious candidate gene for disease. This shows the necessity of careful studies of genetic marker data as a first step toward application of genome-wide association studies findings in a clinical setting. © 2010 American Heart Association, Inc.


Folkersen L.,Karolinska Institutet | Folkersen L.,Experimental Cardiovascular Research Unit | Wagsater D.,Karolinska Institutet | Paloschi V.,Karolinska Institutet | And 12 more authors.
Molecular Medicine | Year: 2011

Thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) is a common complication in patients with a bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), the most frequent congenital heart disorder. For unknown reasons TAA occurs at a younger age, with a higher frequency in BAV patients than in patients with a tricuspid aortic valve (TAV), resulting in an increased risk for aortic dissection and rupture. To investigate the increased TAA incidence in BAV patients, we obtained tissue biopsy samples from nondilated and dilated aortas of 131 BAV and TAV patients. Global gene expression profiles were analyzed from controls and from aortic intima-media and adventitia of patients (in total 345 samples). Of the genes found to be differentially expressed with dilation, only a few (<4%) were differentially expressed in both BAV and TAV patients. With the use of gene set enrichment analysis, the cell adhesion and extracellular region gene ontology sets were identified as common features of TAA in both BAV and TAV patients. Immune response genes were observed to be particularly overexpressed in the aortic media of dilated TAV samples. The divergent gene expression profiles indicate that there are fundamental differences in TAA etiology in BAV and TAV patients. Immune response activation solely in the aortic media of TAV patients suggests that inflammation is involved in TAA formation in TAV but not in BAV patients. Conversely, genes were identified that were only differentially expressed with dilation in BAV patients. The result has bearing on future clinical studies in which separate analysis of BAV and TAV patients is recommended. © 2011 The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.


Edsfeldt A.,Experimental Cardiovascular Research Unit | Edsfeldt A.,Skåne University Hospital | Goncalves I.,Experimental Cardiovascular Research Unit | Goncalves I.,Skåne University Hospital | And 14 more authors.
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology | Year: 2014

OBJECTIVE - Diabetes mellitus (DM) type II is increasing rapidly worldwide. Patients with DM II have a greater atherosclerotic burden and higher risk of developing cardiovascular complications. Inflammation has been proposed as the main cause for the high risk of atherosclerotic disease in DM II. In this study, we compared markers of inflammation and fibrous repair in plaques from subjects with and without DM II. APPROACH AND RESULTS - Carotid endarterectomy specimens were obtained from 63 patients with and 131 without DM. Plaque structure, connective tissue proteins, inflammatory cells, and markers were analyzed by immunohistochemistry, ELISA, Mesoscale, and Luminex technology. Carotid plaques from diabetics had lower levels of extracellular matrix proteins, elastin, and collagen, which are critical for plaque stability. Plaques from diabetics had reduced levels of platelet-derived growth factor and matrix metalloproteinase-2, both important for tissue repair. No differences were observed in inflammatory markers in plaques from diabetic and nondiabetic patients. CONCLUSION - This study suggests that atherosclerotic plaques in subjects with DM II are more prone to rupture because of impaired repair responses rather than to increased vascular inflammation. Although this study did not have a mechanistic design, our findings suggest that targeting impaired repair responses in carotid plaques may help to increase our understanding of atherosclerotic plaque development and vulnerability in patients with DM II. © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.

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