Coronary arterial remodeling: from bench to bedside

Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2003 Mar;5(2):150-4. doi: 10.1007/s11883-003-0088-9.


Coronary arterial remodeling describes changes of vessel size at the site of atherosclerotic lesions. Positive remodeling (expansion) of early lesions maintains lumen size despite plaque accumulation. In contrast, negative remodeling (shrinkage) contributes to luminal stenosis independent of plaque accumulation. Because of these adaptive changes, plaque progression/regression is not closely reflected in luminal size. Histologic studies have demonstrated that the pathophysiologic role of arterial remodeling is more complex than a mere compensatory process. Surprisingly, there is a consistent association between positive arterial remodeling, local inflammatory response, and plaque vulnerability. In vivo tomographic imaging techniques, in particular intravascular ultrasound, and potentially computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, allow the observation of remodeling in clinical settings. The integration of basic knowledge about arterial remodeling with clinical observations from in vivo imaging could lead to a better understanding of plaque progression, regression, and vulnerability and may eventually have implications for disease prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology*
  • Coronary Vessels / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Vessels / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional