Advanced atherosclerosis is often associated with dystrophic calcification and remodeling of extracellular matrix of vascular wall. Recently many studies have documented a general relationship between calcification and severity of coronary disease, and discussed the feasibility of electron beam computed tomography for detecting and quantifying the coronary artery calcification in the patients. The present study investigated the expression and the localization of osteopontin, one of noncollagenous bone matrix protein, within the calcified coronary arteries. Autopsy-derived coronary artery specimens were scanned and reconstructed to visualize the pattern of coronary calcification using a novel microscopic computed tomography technique. The localization of the osteopontin were evaluated by immunohistochemial stain with LF7. The present study showed that the pattern of coronary calcification is variable and the expression of osteopontin is localized mainly to calcified lesion. The smooth muscle cells in addition to macrophage expressed osteopontin protein in human coronary atherosclerotic plaques. Soluble osteopontin released near to the sites of vascular calcification may represent an adaptive mechanism aimed at regulating the process of vascular calcification.
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