Background: Myointimal thickening is a major cause saphenous vein graft failure. The prominence of medial and adventitial microvessels in stenotic vein grafts and the known angiogenic effects of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) lead us to investigate the expression of VEGF and its receptors in vein graft arterialization and stenosis. Methods: Normal and arterialized vein graft segments were evaluated by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for expression of VEGF-R1 (flt), VEGF-R2 (KDR), and neuropilin-1. The cells expressing VEGF, VEGF-R1, VEGF-R2, and neuropilin-1 were identified in normal, stenotic, and arterialized vein graft segments by immunohistochemistry. Results: Vascular endothelial growth factor, detected in the wall in endothelial cells and adventitial microvessels in normal vein, localized to smooth muscle cells, endothelial cells and adventitial microvessels in arterialized and stenotic vein. VEGF-R1 and VEGF-R2 were expressed infrequently on endothelial cells, macrophages, and smooth muscle cells in arterialized and stenotic vein. Neuropilin-1 was detected in all specimens. RT-PCR demonstrated significantly greater expression of neuropilin-1 in normal vein compared with arterialized vein (P <0.05). Conclusions: The differential expression of VEGF and its receptors in normal, arterialized, and stenotic vein grafts suggests that alterations in VEGF/VEGF-R2/neuropilin-1 interactions may be important determinants of the adaptive response of vein grafts to arterialization.
- Vascular endothelial growth factor
- Vein graft arterialization
ASJC Scopus subject areas