Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The elemental composition of the human atheroselerotic popliteal artery was examined using the proton-induced X-ray-emission (PIXE) method. The application of a narrow proton beam (3×10 μm2) enabled us to determine not only the concentrations of Cl, K, Ca, Fe, Cu, Zn, Br and Pb, but also their localization in different artery-wall regions. The highest mean concentrations of Cl, K, Zn and Br were found in the tunica media. In the investigated sections the distribution of Ca and Fe varied: sometimes, these elements were prevalent in the tunica intima, whereas in other cases, the highest concentrations were observed in the tunica media or tunica adventitia. The concentration profiles of each element were characterized by many sharp, narrow peaks. The highest concentrations of Ca and Fe showed such high levels that only one explanation is possible, i.e. the presence of crystals. The correlation of Ca peaks with those of Zn and Fe is discussed. The usefulness of the micro-PIXE method for the investigation of biomedical materials is also considered.
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