Loukas et al. (2014) discuss the antiatherogenic effects of myocardial bridging in the adult human heart, which is studied through histologic and immunohistochemical analysis. Myocardial bridging is an anatomical variant of the human coronary circulation in which a portion of an epicardial artery passes over the myocardium. Myocardium ‘bridges’ the vessel in this way. Myocardial bridging is a frequent anatomic variant of the human heart in which an epicardial coronary artery travels across the myocardium on an intramural path. According to the study, myocardial bridges have a “protective effect” against atherosclerosis within the affected coronary artery.
In comparison to the pre- and postbridge segments of the identical coronary arteries, atherosclerotic lesions were shown to be less established in vessel sections deep into the myocardial bridges. Although the exact mechanism of atherogenic protection is unknown, it has been postulated that compression by the contracting myocardium induces the production of anticoagulant and growth factors, which may work in concert to protect the endothelium from denudation, inflammation, and atherosclerosis.
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