Vascular Imaging of Matrix Metalloproteinase Activity as an Informative Preclinical Biomarker of Drug-induced Vascular Injury.
The late myocardial and vascular ultrastructural changes in rat hearts following consumption of the cardiovascular toxin allylamine were studied. Rats were given 0.1% allylamine HCl in drinking water for 10-104 days. From 10 to 21 days, there was organization of acute myocardial necrosis by macrophages and scattered polymorphonuclear leukocytes with prominent interstitial-cell proliferation. Alterations at 21-104 days included extensive scarring with formation of dense mature collagen with scattered fibroblasts present, grossly evident left-ventricular aneurysm, and gross and microscopic changes similar to those observed in the secondary form of endocardial fibroelastosis. Areas of scar contained highly cellular foci of smooth-muscle cells, myofibroblasts, and abundant extracellular elastin. Cardiac myocytes frequently showed markedly disorganized myofilaments, bizarrely distorted mitochondria with condensed cristae, and other severe degenerative changes. Small vessels within and adjacent to scar showed proliferation of intimal smooth-muscle cells. Endothelial lesions or recent or organized thrombi were not seen. Focal endocardial metaplasia, consisting of both chondroid and osseous tissue, was found in areas of transmural scarring, or ventricular aneurysm. Chondrocytes had the overall nuclear and cellular morphology, abundant rough endoplasmic reticulum, and surrounding lacunae typical of mature fibrocartilage. In some areas, the collagen matrix was undergoing calcification with the typical cross-banded pattern of calcifying connective tissue. Osteocytes were located in a densely calcified bone matrix and displayed characteristic cellular extensions into surrounding canaliculi. These findings indicate a severe myocardial, small-vessel, and endocardial injury during the course of chronic allylamine intoxication.