AIMS: Low wall shear stress (WSS) is acknowledged to play a role in plaque development through its influence on local endothelial function. Also, lipid-rich plaques (LRPs) are associated with endothelial dysfunction. However, little is known about the interplay between WSS and the presence of lipids with respect to plaque progression. Therefore, we aimed to study the differences in WSS-related plaque progression between LRPs, non-LRPs, or plaque-free regions in human coronary arteries.
METHODS AND RESULTS: In the present single-centre, prospective study, 40 patients who presented with an acute coronary syndrome successfully underwent near-infrared spectroscopy intravascular ultrasound (NIRS-IVUS) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) of at least one non-culprit vessel at baseline and completed a 1-year follow-up. WSS was computed applying computational fluid dynamics to a three-dimensional reconstruction of the coronary artery based on the fusion of the IVUS-segmented lumen with a CT-derived centreline, using invasive flow measurements as boundary conditions. For data analysis, each artery was divided into 1.5 mm/45° sectors. Plaque growth based on IVUS-derived percentage atheroma volume change was compared between LRPs, non-LRPs, and plaque-free wall segments, as assessed by both OCT and NIRS. Both NIRS- and OCT-detected lipid-rich sectors showed a significantly higher plaque progression than non-LRPs or plaque-free regions. Exposure to low WSS was associated with a higher plaque progression than exposure to mid or high WSS, even in the regions classified as a plaque-free wall. Furthermore, low WSS and the presence of lipids had a synergistic effect on plaque growth, resulting in the highest plaque progression in lipid-rich regions exposed to low shear stress.
CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that NIRS- and OCT-detected lipid-rich regions exposed to low WSS are subject to enhanced plaque growth over a 1-year follow-up. The presence of lipids and low WSS proves to have a synergistic effect on plaque growth.
|Number of pages||9|
|Early online date||28 Dec 2022|
|Publication status||Published - 2 May 2023|
This work was supported by the European Research Council, Brussels,
Belgium (grant number 310457). M.T. acknowledges the funding received
as the laureate of the European Society of Cardiology Research and
Training Programme in the form of the ESC 2018 Grant.
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology.