Longitudinal common carotid artery wall motion is associated with plaque burden in man and mouse

Sara Svedlund, Li-ming Gan
OBJECTIVE: Velocity vector imaging can be used to assess longitudinal common carotid artery (CCA) wall movement (tLoD) in man. To deepen our mechanistic understanding, we aimed to adapt this technique to atherosclerotic prone mice models. METHODS: 46 mice fed with high fat diet were included in the study. The CCAs were scanned with ultrasound biomicroscopy and cine looped images were stored for later off-line analysis with Vevostrain. Measurement of intima media-thickness (IMT) and plaque burden was performed. Further, blood samples were analyzed. In addition, a human study group of 10 patients with CCA plaques and 10 matched controls were analyzed. RESULTS: The tLoD of the CCA was successfully measured with Vevostrain-technique in all investigated mice. Mice with low tLoD compared to higher tLoD showed greater plaque burden in the brachiocephalic artery (0.1096 ± 0.0340 mm² vs. 0.0848 ± 0.0239 mm², p = 0.007) and greater IMT (0.2223 ± 0.0468 mm vs. 0.1948 ± 0.0324 mm, p = 0.03). Further, mice with low tLoD showed higher cholesterol-levels compared to mice with higher tLoD (46.3 ± 11.5 mmol/L vs. 39.9 ± 7.8 mmol/L, p = 0.04). In the human study group, patients with plaques showed lower tLoD compared to controls (0.062 ± 0.028 mm vs. 0.142 ± 0.074 mm, p=0.003). CONCLUSIONS: Vevostrain can be used to assess the longitudinal CCA movement in mice. In analogy with findings in humans, lower longitudinal CCA movement is associated with greater plaque burden in mice.

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