PMID: 186079Oct 1, 1976

The release of an immobilized lipoprotein fraction from atherosclerotic lesions by incubation with plasmin

E B SmithK M Alexander


A large amount of plasma low density lipoprotein is present in human aortic intima, and this can be removed and measured by electrophoresis directly from the minced tissue into an antibody-containing gel. We now find that, in addition to this electrophoretically mobile lipoprotein, there is an immobilized lipoprotein fraction than can be released from lesions by incubation of the tissue sample with plasmin or other proteolytic enzymes after the mobile lipoprotein has been removed. The concentration of immobilized lipoprotein is highly correlated with the concentration of the residual cholesterol (not mobile on electrophoresis) that has accumulated in the tissue (r = 0.702; P less than 0.001). Thus, in normal intima and early gelatinous lesions it is about 15% of the concentration of mobile lipoprotein, whereas in the atheroma lipid layers of fibrous or gelatinous plaques it may be 2 or 3 times greater than the concentration of mobile lipoprotein. This suggests that immobilization of plasma lipoprotein is an intermediate step in the irreversible deposition of extracellular cholesterol in atherosclerotic lesions. Incubation with plasmin allowed maximum release of lipoprotein: plasmin = crude collagenase greater than trypsin great...Continue Reading


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