Background - Venous coronary artery bypass grafts (CABGs) are prone to accelerated atherosclerosis. In atherosclerotic diseases, serum C-reactive protein (CRP) levels have become an important diagnostic and prognostic marker. The origin of CRP in this setting remains to be elucidated. Methods and Results - Monoclonal anti-CRP identified CRP expression in medial and intimal α-actin-positive smooth muscle cells (SMCs) of diseased CABGs with type V and VI lesions and also of native saphenous veins of atherosclerotic individuals. In addition, patent coronary arteries with type IV and V but not with type I through III lesions exhibited intense SMC staining for CRP. Calcified desobliterates of occluded coronary arteries with end-stage disease did not show SMC staining for CRP and were consistently negative for CRP mRNA, as detected by means of real-time polymerase chain reaction. However, CRP mRNA was expressed in 11 of 15 diseased CABGs and also in 10 of 15 native veins. By contrast, only 3 of 18 internal mammary and 4 of 12 radial arteries with virtually no atherosclerosis were positive for CRP mRNA. Conclusions - CRP is produced by SMCs of atherosclerotic lesions with active disease but not in end-stage plaques. The role of CRP constitutively expressed by normal vascular tissue in vein graft disease has yet to be elucidated.
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - 23.09.2003|