Sequential appearance of fibronectin, collagen and elastin during fatty streak initiation and maturation in hypercholesterolemic fat-fed rabbits

Jun Tanouchi, Masaaki Uematsu, Akira Kitabatake, Tohru Masuyama, Hiroshi Ito, Yasuji Doi, Michitoshi Inoue, Takenobu Kamada

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To elucidate whether tissue fibronectin increases in the early stages of atherogenesis induced by hypercholesterolemia without mechanical trauma, we investigated sequential changes in the distribution of tissue fibronectin during fatty streak initiation and maturation in the aortas of hypercholesterolemic fat-fed rabbits. The presence of fibronectin was examined on immunoperoxidase stained tissue specimens with the aid of a microscope-photometric technique. Twenty male albino rabbits were used. Cholesterol supplemented chow (1%) was given for 4 weeks (n = 6), 8 (n=5) or 14 weeks (n=5). A membrane-like layer positive for fibronectin was observed along the endothelium in the normal aorta. After 4 weeks of the cholesterol-feeding, fatty streaks were initiated in the intima, where fibronectin was more densely accumulated than the normal intima. After 8 weeks of the cholesterol-feeding, fatty streaks were expanding, associated with the dense staining for fibronectin. After 14 weeks, fibronectin was still concentrated in the endothelial layer and also in the superficial areas of the thickened intima, but decreased in the deep areas of the thickened intima where collagen and elastin appeared as bundles. The photometric data of fibronectin supported these visual observations. Thus, fibronectin appeared early and disappeared later in the intima during the process of fatty streak initiation and maturation. These findings suggest that in hypercholesterolemia without mechanical endothelial injury, fibronectin may play an important role in an early process of atherogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-656
Number of pages8
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1992
Externally publishedYes



  • Atherosclerosis
  • Fibronectin
  • Immunoperoxidase technique
  • Microscope-photometer
  • Rabbits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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