Journal of Medical & Surgical Pathology

Journal of Medical & Surgical Pathology
Open Access

ISSN: 2472-4971

+44 1223 790975


Natriuretic Peptide Receptor-C is Up-Regulated in the Intima of Advanced Carotid Artery Atherosclerosis

Mohamed A Zayed, Scott D Harring, Dana R Abendschein, Chandu Vemuri, Dongsi Lu, Lisa Detering, Yongjian Liu and Pamela K Woodard

Objective: Natriuretic peptide receptor-C (NPR-C/NPR-3) is a cell surface protein involved in vascular remodelling that is up-regulated in atherosclerosis. NPR-C expression has not been well characterized in human carotid artery occlusive lesions. We hypothesized that NPR-C expression correlates with intimal features of vulnerable atherosclerotic carotid artery plaque.
Methods: To test this hypothesis, we evaluated NPR-C expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in carotid endarterectomy (CEA) specimens isolated from 18 patients. The grade, location, and co-localization of NPR-C in CEA specimens were evaluated using two tissue analysis techniques.
Results: Relative to minimally diseased CEA specimens, we observed avid NPR-C tissue staining in the intima of maximally diseased CEA specimens (65%; p=0.06). Specifically, maximally diseased CEA specimens demonstrated increased NPR-C expression in the superficial intima (61%, p=0.17), and deep intima (138% increase; p=0.05). In the superficial intima, NPR-C expression significantly co-localized with vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and macrophages. The intensity of NPR-C expression was also higher in the superficial intima plaque shoulder and cap regions, and significantly correlated with atheroma and fibroatheroma vulnerable plaque regions (β=1.04, 95% CI=0.46, 1.64).
Conclusion: These findings demonstrate significant NPR-C expression in the intima of advanced carotid artery plaques. Furthermore, NPR-C expression was higher in vulnerable carotid plaque intimal regions, and correlate with features of advanced disease. Our findings suggest that NPR-C may serve as a potential biomarker for carotid plaque vulnerability and progression, in patients with advanced carotid artery occlusive disease.