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The higher expression level of p53 in epithelial adipose tissue (EAT) has previously been reported in atherosclerosis. Since we hypothesized that the expression of p53 is modulated by Sirt1, the aim of this study was to determine the expression levels of Sirt1 and p53 and to investigate their correlation to apoptosis in EAT of patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). Thirty-five patients with more than 50 % stenosis in at least one of the main coronary arteries were considered as CAD group while 29 patients with no clinical signs of atherosclerosis who underwent open-heart surgery for valve replacement were classified as control group. EAT biopsy samples were collected from all participants during surgery. Sirt1, p53, Bax, and Bcl‑2 gene expression levels were determined in EAT by qRT-PCR and Western blotting was carried out to assess Sirt1 and p53 protein levels. Hematoxylin and eosin staining was used for histopathological analysis. mRNA and protein levels of Sirt1 in EAT were significantly lower in patients with CAD compared with control group, whereas CAD patients showed greater p53 gene and protein expressions. In addition, inverse correlations were observed between Sirt1 and p53 at both mRNA and protein levels. The Bax and ratio of Bax/Bcl-2 gene expressions were higher in CAD group, but no difference was observed in Bcl-2 expression. Histopathological analysis showed apoptotic bodies and infiltrated immune cells in EAT of CAD group. Our results suggest that the Sirt1-p53 axis may involve in atherosclerosis by promotion of apoptosis.
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