Progetto vincitore della Borsa di Studio SISA 2017 - Palma




Galectin-3 and Lp(a) levels in serum and atherosclerotic plaques of patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy

Daniela Palma



Background/rationale. Atherosclerosis consists in the development of plaque in the layers of big arteries due to lipid accumulation and oxidation together with a massive inflammation. Plaque instability is the most relevant risk factor for acute events. Galectin-3 (Gal-3) is a pleiotropic protein involved in macrophage chemotaxis, phagocytosis, oxidative stress, cell proliferation, extracellular matrix remodeling. Lipoprotein(a) - Lp(a) is a modified LDL particle which increased levels are considered a cardiovascular risk factor since it is able to amplify inflammatory and proliferative responses and trigger atherogenic and prothrombotic mechanisms in the arteries. Poor data are currently available about the evaluation of these molecules in human atherosclerotic plaques.


Objectives. We aim to better understand the role of Gal-3 and Lp(a) in atherosclerotic process (aim 1) and to define their potential role as markers of plaque instability (aim 2) through an integrated study of serum levels, plaque levels, plaque characteristics at histological analysis and clinical data of patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy.


Methods and research strategy. We will measure Gal-3 and Lp(a) in the serum of at least 100 patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy. Plaques will be characterized histologically to perform the classification, the identification of instability features. In a subset of 20 patients the quantification of Gal-3 and Lp(a) in plaque and in their adjacent regions will be performed by immunohistochemistry and Gal-3 mRNA levels will be evaluated in plaques and in peripheral leukocytes. Data about Gal-3 and Lp(a) levels in serum and plaques will be correlated with plaque characteristics in order to evaluate if they have a prominent role in plaque instability.


Expected results. The overall results will clarify if Gal-3 and Lp(a) levels in serum and plaques are related to plaque development and to plaque instability.




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38° Congresso Nazionale

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