Anatomic correlates of aortic pulse wave velocity and carotid artery elasticity during atherosclerosis progression and regression in monkeys.
We noninvasively measured changes in average aortic stiffness in 79 cynomolgus monkeys being fed cholesterol progression, regression, and control diets by measuring pulse wave velocity (PWV) in 260 experiments during a 30-month period. Every 6 months, a group of monkeys was studied with invasive aortic PWV techniques and with ultrasonically determined pressure-strain elastic modulus (Ep) of the carotid artery, and then the group was killed so that morphometric evaluation of atherosclerosis severity could be made. After 6 months of a cholesterol progression diet, PWV decreased slightly from 6.2 +/- 0.1 to 5.7 +/- 0.1 m/sec, followed by an approximate linear increase to 8.8 +/- 1.2 m/sec after 30 months on the diet. The corresponding ratio of intimal (plaque) area to medial area (IA/MA) measured on perfusion-fixed cross-sections of the abdominal and thoracic aortas increased from 0.16 +/- 0.07 at 6 months to 1.23 +/- 0.22 at 30 months. Monkeys in the regression groups were fed the cholesterol progression diet for 18 months, followed by a chow diet for 6 or 12 months. In the first 6 months of the cholesterol regression diet, PWV continued to increase from 7.0 +/- 0.2 to 8.1 +/- 0.4 m/sec, and IA/MA was 1.24 +/- 0.18. However, after 12 months of the cholesterol regression diet, PWV decreased to 6.8 +/- 0.4 m/sec, and IA/MA was 0.90 +/- 0.18. The variability of the data demonstrates that PWV is not a simple function of atherosclerosis severity, and the best simple correlation was r = 0.69 (r2 = 0.48) between PWV and intimal area. However, multiple regression analysis of aortic PWV, systolic (SP) and diastolic (DP) blood pressures, and total plasma cholesterol concentration (TPC), all of which can be measured with minimally invasive techniques, improved the prediction of the IA/MA ratio through the following equation: IA/MA = 0.127 PWV-0.039 DP+0.023SP+0.0003TPC-0.292 (r = 0.81, r2 = 0.66). These data suggest that arterial stiffness in combination with minimally invasive parameters can be used to predict the severity of diffuse asymptomatic atherosclerosis in monkeys. However, more widespread application of these data to humans is uncertain because of biological variability and differences between animal models and human subjects.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association