Increased plant sterol deposition in vascular tissue characterizes patients with severe aortic stenosis and concomitant coronary artery disease.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the relationship between phytosterols, oxyphytosterols, and other markers of cholesterol metabolism and concomitant coronary artery disease (CAD) in patients with severe aortic stenosis who were scheduled for elective aortic valve replacement. Markers of cholesterol metabolism (plant sterols and cholestanol as markers of cholesterol absorption and lathosterol as an indicator of cholesterol synthesis) and oxyphytosterols were determined in plasma and aortic valve tissue from 104 consecutive patients with severe aortic stenosis (n=68 statin treatment; n=36 no statin treatment) using gas chromatography-flame ionization and mass spectrometry. The extent of CAD was determined by coronary angiography prior to aortic valve replacement. Patients treated with statins were characterized by lower plasma cholesterol, cholestanol, and lathosterol concentrations. However, statin treatment did not affect the sterol concentrations in cardiovascular tissue. The ratio of campesterol-to-cholesterol was increased by 0.46±0.34μg/mg (26.0%) in plasma of patients with CAD. The absolute values for the cholesterol absorption markers sitosterol and campesterol were increased by 18.18±11.59ng/mg (38.8%) and 11.40±8.69ng/mg (30.4%) in the tissues from patients with documented CAD compared to those without concomitant CAD. Campesterol oxides were increased by 0.06±0.02ng/mg (17.1%) in the aortic valve cusps and oxidized sitosterol-to-cholesterol ratios were up-regulated by 0.35±0.2ng/mg (22.7%) in the plasma of patients with CAD. Of note, neither cholestanol nor the ratio of cholestanol-to-cholesterol was associated with CAD. Patients with concomitant CAD are characterized by increased deposition of plant sterols, but not cholestanol in aortic valve tissue. Moreover, patients with concomitant CAD were characterized by increased oxyphytosterol concentrations in plasma and aortic valve cusps.