Tissue Factor Expression in the Symptomatic Carotid Plaque

Hani Abdul-Jabar, Abbas Rashid, Amir Sadri, Trevor Paes


Background: The aims of this study were to identify that the differences in the natural history of patients with symptomatic and asymptomatic carotid stenosis may be reflected in differences in the expression of procoagulant protein factors.
Methods: Carotid artery plaques were obtained from 33 symptomatic and 4 asymptomatic patients with internal carotid artery stenosis of greater than 70%. These plaques were stained with monoclonal antibody against human tissue factor. Areas of staining for the cap and core were analysed using the analySIS computer programme.
Results: There were 37 patients, of whom 27 were male with a mean age 69.3 years and a range of 53 to 83 years. Statistical analysis using non-parametric tests revealed a significant increase in the area of positive staining for tissue factor in plaques taken from symptomatic patients when compared to those who were asymptomatic (P = 0001). Within the symptomatic patients group there was significantly increased tissue factor in the plaque core of those who were the most recently symptomatic (P = 0.003).
Conclusions: The unstable carotid artery plaque is associated with significantly increased tissue factor expression in the cap and core. Plaques from the most recently symptomatic patients have significantly more tissue factor in the core and this may represent part of the mechanism responsible for plaque destabilisation. More research is needed in this important area.

Publish ahead of print July 23, 2009


Tissue Factor; Carotid stenosis; Stroke; Plaque stability

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