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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 131  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 161-170

Mechanism of Chronic Stress-induced Reduced Atherosclerotic Medial Area and Increased Plaque Instability in Rabbit Models of Chronic Stress


1 Department of Neurology, Beijing Hospital, National Center of Gerontology, Beijing 100730, China
2 Department of Radiology, Beijing Hospital, National Center of Gerontology, Beijing 100730, China
3 The MOH Key Laboratory of Geriatrics, Beijing Hospital, National Center of Gerontology, Beijing 100730, China
4 Department of Laboratory, Beijing Hospital, National Center of Gerontology, Beijing 100730, China
5 Department of Pathology, Beijing Hospital, National Center of Gerontology, Beijing 100730, China

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Tao Gong
Department of Neurology, Beijing Hospital, National Center of Gerontology, Beijing 100730
China
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0366-6999.222322

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Background: Chronic stress contributes to increased risks of atherosclerotic diseases including heart disease, stroke, and transient ischemic attack. However, its underline mechanisms are poorly understood. This study aimed to elucidate the mechanism via which chronic stress exerts its effect on atherosclerosis (AS). Methods: Fifty male New Zealand white rabbits were used. Aortic balloon-injury model was applied. Both social stress and physical stress methods were adopted to establish chronic stress models. The lumen stenotic degree, intimal and medial areas, maximum fibrous cap thickness, and plaque contents were measured with histological sections. Proteomic methods were applied to detect protein changes in abdominal aortas to identify the specialized mediators. Real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction was used for further verification and investigation. Results: The stress rabbits exhibited lower body weight, worse fur state, more inactivity behavior, and higher serum cortisol level. Chronic stress was significantly associated with the decreased medial area and increased plaque instability, which was manifested by thinner fibrous caps, larger lipid cores, more macrophages, and new vessels but fewer smooth muscle cells and elastic fibers. After chronic stress, the apoptosis-related genes UBE2K, BAX, FAS, Caspase 3, Caspase 9, and P53 were upregulated, and BCL-2/BAX was down-regulated; the angiogenesis-related genes ANG and VEGF-A were also highly expressed in atherosclerotic arteries. Conclusions: Rabbit models of chronic stress were successfully established by applying both social stress and physical stress for 8 weeks. Chronic stress can reduce AS tunica media and accelerate plaque instability by promoting apoptosis and neovascularization.


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