The aim of this study was to determine whether the morphology of the muscular femoral artery in patients with atherosclerosis and hyperhomocysteinemia differs from that of atherosclerotic vessels from patients with normal homocysteine levels. Whole-vessel biopsies of the superficial femoral artery were taken from patients with symptomatic atherosclerotic disease with and without hyperhomocysteinemia and from patients without atherosclerosis from traumatic amputations. The morphology of these specimens was studied qualitatively by light and electron microscopy and quantitatively by light microscopy in combination with a video overlay system. Atherosclerotic lesions in patients with hyperhomocysteinemia were morphologically similar to those in patients with normal homocysteine levels, except for a significantly decreased smooth muscle cell/extracellular matrix ratio of the media in hyperhomocysteinemic patients (P=0.02 versus normohomocysteinemic atherosclerotic group and P=0.001 versus group without a history of cardiovascular disease). Hyperhomocysteinemia is associated with a significant decrease of the smooth muscle cell/extracellular matrix ratio of the media of muscular femoral arteries without significant changes in medial thickness. Further investigations should concentrate on the cause of this newly discovered phenomenon and its impact on vascular compliance.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2001|