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A farewell kiss triggers a broken heart?
Circ Res 2006 May; 98(9):1117-1119
The evolving atherosclerotic lesion reflects a coordinated interaction between vascular and immune/inflammatory cells. Foam cells and extracellular lipid droplets form the central core of the atheroma, which is covered by vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and a collagen-rich matrix. T cells and macrophages infiltrate the lesion and are particularly abundant in the shoulder region. VSMCs are responsible for producing extracellular matrix proteins that provide strength and stability to the lesion. Indeed, the atherosclerotic plaque can remain relatively stable in which a cap of VSMCs and matrix proteins covers the lipid core. Alternatively, the plaque can develop into a chronic active inflammatory lesion.1,2 These unstable plaques are characterized by increased numbers of activated immune/ inflammatory cells and increased expression and release of numerous inflammatory mediators and proteolytic enzymes. Thinning of the fibrous cap reflecting reductions in VSMCs and matrix proteins is a key feature of unstable plaques. The subsequent rupture of weakened unstable plaques, which exposes prothrombotic material from the core of the plaque, is the principal mechanism underlying acute coronary syndromes (ACS) including unstable angina, myocardial infarction, and sudden cardiac death.
Muscle-cells; Proteins; Enzymes; Cardiac-function; Heart; Cardiovascular-system-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Cardiovascular-disease; Cardiovascular-function
Nicholas A. Flavahan, The Ohio State University, 473 West 12th Ave, R 110E, Columbus, OH 43210
Issue of Publication
Jonhs Hopkins University
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division