Inflammation blood and tissue factors of plaque growth in an experimental model evidenced by a systems approach

Gualtiero Pelosi, Silvia Rocchiccioli, Antonella Cecchettini, Federica Viglione, Mariarita Puntoni, Oberdan Parodi, Enrico Capobianco, Maria G. Trivella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: The multifactorial pathogenesis of coronary atherosclerotic lesion formation has been investigated in a swine model of high cholesterol diet induced atherogenesis and data processed by a systems approach. Methods: Farm pigs were fed on standard or high cholesterol diet of 8 and 16 weeks duration. Plasma assessment of total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and ELISA of some cytokines and ICAM-1 were performed on baseline and end-diet samples. Segments of the right coronary artery were incubated for 24 h in serum-free medium to collect secreted proteins and their expression analyzed by mass spectrometry. Data of plasma and tissue factors were processed by a statistical systems inference approach: both histologic parameters of coronary intimal thickness (IT) and of lesion area (LA) were chosen as dependent variables (coronary atherosclerotic burden). Results: Relations among plasma adhesion molecules, cytokines, lipoproteins, tissue proteins and histology indexes were integrated in a model regression scheme. Bayesian model averaging (BMA) variable selection was chosen as a method to identify relevant factors associated to atherosclerotic burden: TNFα was identified as an associated plasma marker, oxLDL and HDL as relevant lipoproteins; macrophage function related antioxidant Catalase enzyme, lysosome associated Cathepsin D, S100-A10, and Transforming growth factor-beta-induced protein ig-h3 were identified and selected as associated to atherogenesis outcome. Conclusions: The results of this systems approach are consistent with the hypothesis that, in high cholesterol diet-induced experimental atherogenesis, the interaction between plasma cytokines, lipoproteins and artery-specific proteins, influences lesion initiation and growth. In particular, some macrophage function related proteins are found significantly and positively associated to atherosclerotic burden, suggesting a novel molecular framework into the atherogenesis-inflammatory disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberArticle 70
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - 2014


  • Bayesian model averaging
  • Coronary atherogenesis
  • Swine model
  • Systems biomedicine
  • Vascular inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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