Altered collagen and elastin content correlates closely with remodeling of the arterial wall after injury. Optical analytical approaches have been shown to detect qualitative changes in plaque composition, but the capacity for detection of quantitative changes in arterial collagen and elastin content in vivo is not known. We have assessed fluorescence spectroscopy for detection of quantitative changes in arterial composition in situ, in rabbit models of angioplasty and stent implant. Fluorescence emission intensity (FEI) recorded at sites remote from the primary implant site was correlated with immunohistochemical (IH) analysis and extracted elastin and collagen. FEI was significantly decreased (P < 0.05) after treatment with anti-inflammatory agents, and plaque area decreased on comparison with saline-treated rabbits after stent implant or angioplasty (P ≤ 0.013). Excellent correlations for FEI with elastin and collagen I, III and IV content measured by IH (R2 ≥ 0.961) analysis were detected by multiple regression (MR) analysis. Good correlations also were found for FEI with elastin and collagen measured by high-performance liquid chromatography; MR analysis provided highly predictive values for collagen and elastin (R2 ≥ 0.994). Fluorescence spectroscopic analysis detects quantitative compositional changes in arterial connective tissue in vivo, demonstrating changes at sites remote from primary angioplasty and stent implant sites.
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Vol. 81 • No. 2