BACKGROUND: Brain and spinal cord arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are characterized by aberrant angiogenesis and vascular remodeling. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) can be recruited by stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1), and participate in vascular remodeling in both physiological and pathological settings. OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether there are increased EPC levels in the brain and spinal cord AVM nidus. METHODS: Microsurgical specimens without endovascular embolization and radiosurgery from the brain (n = 12) and spinal cord (n = 5) AVMs were examined. Hemangioblastoma, meningioma, cerebral cortex obtained from epilepsy surgery, and the basilar artery from the autopsy were chosen for control comparisons. EPCs were identified as cells that were double-positive for the stem cell marker CD133 and the endothelial cell marker VEGFR-2 (vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 or KDR). In addition, SDF-1 was characterized by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: Both brain and spinal AVM tissues displayed more CD133-, SDF-1-, and CD68-positive signals than epilepsy and basilar artery control tissues. The level of EPCs was increased in the brain and spinal cord AVM nidus, mainly at the edge of the vessel wall. The expression of SDF-1 was colocalized with CD31-positive and α-smooth muscle cells, and was predominantly found within the vessel wall. CONCLUSION: Our data demonstrate that EPCs are present in the nidus of the brain and spinal cord AVMs, which may mediate pathological vascular remodeling and impact the clinical course of AVMs.
- Endothelial progenitor cell
- Stromal cell-derived factor-1
- Vascular malformation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology