The characterization of patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) at the molecular and cellular levels provides a novel vision for understanding the pathological and clinical expression of the disease. Recent advances in proteomic technologies permit the evaluation of systematic changes in protein expression in many biological systems and have been extensively applied to cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The cardiovascular system is in permanent intimate contact with blood, making blood-based biomarker discovery a particularly worthwhile approach. Thus, proteomics can potentially yield novel biomarkers reflecting CVD, establish earlier detection strategies, and monitor response to therapy. Here we review the different proteomic strategies used in the study of atherosclerosis and the novel proteins differentially expressed and secreted by atherosclerotic lesions which constitute novel potential biomarkers (HSP-27, Cathepsin D). Special attention is paid to MS-Imaging of atheroma plaque and the generation, for the first time, of 2-D images of lipids, showing the distribution of these molecules in the different areas of the atherosclerotic lesions. In addition new potential biomarkers have been identified in plasma (amyloid A1α, transtherytin), circulating cells (protein profile in monocytes from ACS patients) and individual cells constituents of atheroma plaques (endothelial, VSMC, macrophages) which provide novel insights into vascular pathophysiology.
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