Histologic features of atherosclerosis and hypertension from autopsies of young individuals in a defined geographic population: the Bogalusa Heart Study

Atherosclerosis. 1995 Aug;116(2):163-79. doi: 10.1016/0021-9150(95)05525-2.


Histologic features of arterial intima have been quantified at autopsy by morphometric methods in 66 individuals aged 6-30 years, in whom cardiovascular risk factors had been measured prospectively prior to death. Measures of serum cholesterol were found to correlate significantly with the extent of foam cell infiltration seen in paraffin sections and the intensity of lipid staining in frozen sections of the abdominal and thoracic segments of the aorta. A similar correlation in the coronary arteries was weak and inconsistent. Blood pressure was significantly correlated with foam cells and stainable lipid in the abdominal but not the thoracic segment of the aorta. A similar correlation in the coronary arteries was significant, but only in males, and most consistently in the black males. Intimal thickness of the coronary arteries showed sporadic and weak correlations with blood pressure and lipids; however, a strong and consistent correlation was seen between coronary intimal thickness and hyalinization of renal arterioles. With many statistical tests carried out on a limited data set, some particular details are, no doubt, spuriously significant; however, some persistent patterns are beginning to emerge. The reproducible findings support the concept that prospective measurements of blood pressure and serum lipids are associated with a degree of structural characteristics present in children and young adults. Moreover, the observed structural characteristics, specifically the deposition of lipids in the intima of coronary arteries and aorta, are likely to reflect variations in the rates of progression of atherosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Arteries / pathology
  • Arteriosclerosis / blood
  • Arteriosclerosis / ethnology
  • Arteriosclerosis / pathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / blood
  • Hypertension / ethnology
  • Hypertension / pathology*
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors