Andreeva ER, Orekhov AN, Smirnov VN
Acta Anat (Basel) 1991 141:4 316-23
The intima of the adult human aorta consists of three sublayers: a muscular layer lying next to the media, a median hyperplastic layer and an innermost connective tissue layer, adjoining the lumen. The cells inhabiting these sublayers were isolated by the method of alcoholic-alkaline dissociation from grossly normal areas, fatty streaks and atherosclerotic plaques. The populations obtained contained cells with different numbers of cytoplasmic inclusions and a number without any. In unaffected intima and in fatty streaks, the cells with lipid inclusions were found predominantly in the outermost intimal layer including the connective tissue and in part of the median hyperplastic layer. In the superficial layer of unaffected intima and the fatty streak, these cells accounted for 15 and 25% of the total cell population, respectively. In the plaque, most cells with lipid inclusions were localized in the median hyperplastic layer of the intima (10%). The muscular layer was characterized by the lowest content of cells with lipid inclusions both in the unaffected intima and atherosclerotic lesions (from 0.75% in unaffected intima to 5% plaques). Among the intimal smooth muscle cells of various shapes, the cells with lipid inclusions were most often found in the stellate cell subpopulation (5-35%). A possible role of stellate cells in atherogenesis is discussed.