Plaque characteristics and biomarkers predicting regression and progression of carotid atherosclerosis

Faisel Khan, Isabel Gonçalves, Angela C. Shore, Andrea Natali, Carlo Palombo, Helen M. Colhoun, Gerd Östling, Francesco Casanova, Cecilia Kennbäck, Kunihiko Aizawa, Margaretha Persson, Kim M. Gooding, David Strain, Helen Looker, Fiona Dove, Jill Belch, Silvia Pinnola, Elena Venturi, Michaela Kozakova, Jan Nilsson (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
56 Downloads (Pure)


The factors that influence the atherosclerotic disease process in high-risk individuals remain poorly understood. Here, we used a combination of vascular imaging, risk factor assessment, and biomarkers to identify factors associated with 3-year change in carotid disease severity in a cohort of high-risk subjects treated with preventive therapy (n = 865). The results show that changes in intima-media thickness (IMT) are most pronounced in the carotid bulb. Progression of bulb IMT demonstrates independent associations with baseline bulb IMT, the plaque gray scale median (GSM), and the plasma level of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) (standardized β-coefficients and 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.14 [-0.06 to -0.02] p = 0.001, 0.15 [0.02-0.07] p = 0.001, and 0.20 [0.03-0.07] p < 0.001, respectively). Plasma PDGF correlates with the plaque GSM (0.23 [0.15-0.29] p < 0.001). These observations provide insight into the atherosclerotic process in high-risk subjects by showing that progression primarily occurs in fibrotic plaques and is associated with increased levels of PDGF.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100676
Number of pages14
JournalCell Reports Medicine
Issue number7
Early online date19 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2022


  • Atherosclerosis/complications
  • Biomarkers
  • Carotid Artery Diseases/diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness
  • Humans
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic/diagnostic imaging
  • Risk Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • atherosclerosis
  • risk factors
  • biomarkers
  • carotid ultrasound
  • intima-media thickness
  • type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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