The purpose of this study was to assess whether the plasma levels of soluble adhesion molecules including E-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) are elevated in patients with variant angina and whether they are released in the coronary circulation.
Antecubital venous plasma samples were collected from 33 patients with variant angina, 22 patients with stable effort angina and 20 control subjects. Samples were also collected from the aortic root (AO) and the coronary sinus (CS) in 18 patients with variant angina before and after left coronary spasm induced by intracoronary injection of acetylcholine. The soluble adhesion molecules were assayed by enzyme immunoassay.
Antecubital venous plasma soluble E-selectin (P < .05), ICAM-1 (P < .01) and VCAM-1 (NS) levels were higher in the variant angina group than in the control group, respectively. The plasma soluble ICAM-1 level was also higher (P < .01) in the variant angina group than in the stable effort angina group. In the variant angina group, both soluble ICAM-1 (P < .05) and VCAM-1 (P < .01) levels were significantly lower in CS than AO at baseline. In contrast, after the spasm the plasma soluble ICAM-1 level was (P < .05) higher in CS than AO and the CS-AO differences of soluble ICAM-1 (P < .05) and VCAM-1 (P < .05) increased as compared with the baseline, respectively. These values were remained unchanged in the stable effort angina group after rapid atrial pacing and in the control group after administration of acetylcholine.
Circulating plasma levels of both soluble E-selectin and ICAM-1 were elevated in patients with variant angina, indicating an association of an inflammatory reaction with coronary spasm. Both soluble ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 appeared to be trapped in the coronary circulation at baseline and released into the coronary circulation following coronary spasm and reperfusion in the patients.