Increased Plasma Levels of Myosin Heavy Chain 11 Is Associated with Atherosclerosis

J Clin Med. 2021 Jul 16;10(14):3155. doi: 10.3390/jcm10143155.


Many studies have revealed numerous potential biomarkers for atherosclerosis, but tissue-specific biomarkers are still needed. Recent lineage-tracing studies revealed that smooth muscle cells (SMCs) contribute substantially to plaque formation, and the loss of SMCs causes plaque vulnerability. We investigated the association of SMC-specific myosin heavy chain 11 (myosin-11) with atherosclerosis. Forty-five patients with atherosclerosis and 34 control subjects were recruited into our study. In the atherosclerosis patients, 35 patients had either coronary artery disease (CAD) or peripheral artery disease (PAD), and 10 had both CAD and PAD. Coronary arteries isolated from five patients were subjected to histological study. Circulating myosin-11 levels were higher in the CAD or PAD group than in controls. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of myosin-11 was 0.954. Circulating myosin-11 levels in the CAD and PAD group were higher than in the CAD or PAD group, while high-sensitivity C-reactive protein concentrations did not differ between these groups. Multinomial logistic regression analyses showed a significant association of myosin-11 levels with the presence of multiple atherosclerotic regions. Myosin-11 was expressed in the medial layer of human atherosclerotic lesions where apoptosis elevated. Circulating myosin-11 levels may be useful for detecting spatial expansion of atherosclerotic regions.

Keywords: atherosclerosis; biomarkers; immunohistochemistry; myosin heavy chain; smooth muscle cells.