Clinical research
Inflammatory markers in patients with internal carotid artery stenosis
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Submission date: 2012-03-30
Final revision date: 2012-06-03
Acceptance date: 2012-07-11
Online publication date: 2013-04-09
Publication date: 2013-04-30
Arch Med Sci 2013;9(2):254-260
Introduction: Available reports underline the significance of the inflammatory process in the development, progression and destabilisation of atherosclerotic plaques in the internal carotid artery (ICA). The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between the degree of ICA stenosis, ultrasound plaque morphology and serum concentration of selected inflammatory markers.
Material and methods: Sixty-five patients with ICA stenosis > 50% (39 symptomatic) and 30 healthy volunteers were enrolled in the study. Clinical, neurological examination and laboratory evaluation (leucocyte count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen, tumour necrosis factor- (TNF-), interleukins (1b, 6 and 10), anti-cytomegalovirus IgG antibody titre) were performed. Stenosis grade  70%, ulcerations on the plaque surface and a hypoechoic (or predominantly hypoechoic) structure of the plaque, obtained by colour-coded duplex examination, were accepted as the characteristics of unstable stenoses.
Results: Unstable ultrasound features of ICA stenosis were found significantly more often in symptomatic than in asymptomatic patients (71.79% vs. 30.71% for stenosis degree  70%, p = 0.001 and 61.23% vs. 38.46% for unstable plaque morphology, p = 0.01). Patients with ICA stenosis had significantly higher serum concentrations of interleukin-6, fibrinogen, ESR and higher CRP values than the individuals from the control group (p = 0.001, p = 0.009, p = 0.036, p = 0.009 respectively) . Patients with unstable plaques structure had significantly higher concentrations of TNF-α, interleukin-6, fibrinogen, higher number of leukocytes, monocytes and higher CRP values than patients with stable plaques (p = 0.008, p = 0.049, p = 0.012, p = 0.0002, p = 0.006, p = 0.0003 respectively). No significant differences in above-mentioned parameters between the groups with stenosis < 70% and  70% were found.
Conclusions: There is a relationship between the activity of the selected inflammatory markers in serum and atherosclerotic unstable internal carotid artery stenosis. There is no relationship between serum concentration of inflammatory markers and degree of carotid artery stenosis.
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