• Open Access

Cellularity and structure of fresh human coronary thrombectomy specimens; presence of cells with markers of progenitor cells


Correspondence to: Ion S. JOVIN, M.D., ScD, Department of Medicine/Cardiology, Virginia Commonwealth University and VA Medical Center, 1201 Broad Rock Boulevard 111J, Richmond, VA 23249, USA.

Tel.: +(804) 675-5419

Fax: +(804) 675-5420

E-mail: isjovin@yahoo.com


Acute coronary syndromes and acute myocardial infarctions are often related to plaque rupture and the formation of thrombi at the site of the rupture. We examined fresh coronary thrombectomy specimens from patients with acute coronary syndromes and assessed their structure and cellularity. The thrombectomy specimens consisted of platelets, erythrocytes and inflammatory cells. Several specimens contained multiple cholesterol crystals. Culture of thrombectomy specimens yielded cells growing in various patterns depending on the culture medium used. Culture in serum-free stem cell enrichment medium yielded cells with features of endothelial progenitor cells which survived in culture for a year. Immunohistochemical analysis of the thrombi revealed cells positive for CD34, cells positive for CD15 and cells positive for desmin in situ, whereas cultured cell from thrombi was desmin positive but pancytokeratin negative. Cells cultured in endothelial cell medium were von Willebrand factor positive. The content of coronary thrombectomy specimens is heterogeneous and consists of blood cells but also possibly cells from the vascular wall and cholesterol crystals. The culture of cells contained in the specimens yielded multiplying cells, some of which demonstrated features of haematopoietic progenitor cells and which differentiated into various cell-types.