Angiogenesis in pterygium: morphometric and immunohistochemical study

Curr Eye Res. 2002 Jul;25(1):17-22. doi: 10.1076/ceyr.


Objective: To evaluate the role of angiogenesis in the pathogenesis of pterygium by comparing the expression of von-Willebrand factor (vWF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in pterygium, and in normal superior bulbar conjunctiva.

Methods: 23 human samples from pterygium and the superior bulbar conjunctiva were stained using rabbit anti-vWF and anti-VEGF antibodies. The density of vWF and VEGF positive vessels, VEGF staining intensity and the number of VEGF positive stromal, epithelial and vascular endothelial cells were evaluated.

Results: Pterygium specimens had higher average vWF and VEGF positive microvascular counts per high power field (P = 0.0012), higher average VEGF staining intensity scores in epithelial, stromal and endothelial cells (p < 0.0001) and higher VEGF positive cell counts (P < 0.0001) than normal conjuctiva.

Conclusions: Over-expression of VEGF in pterygium tissue, together with the abundance of vWF-stained new vessels, may support previous suggestions that angiogenesis may play a role in the formation of pterygium.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Conjunctiva / blood supply*
  • Conjunctiva / metabolism
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Lymphokines / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / complications*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Pterygium / etiology*
  • Pterygium / metabolism
  • Pterygium / pathology
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • von Willebrand Factor / metabolism


  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lymphokines
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • von Willebrand Factor