Background: Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is a genetic angiodysplasia affecting multiple organs. Two genes involved in the transduction of TGF-beta signalling are responsible for HHT. An additional role for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been proposed. Serum VEGF, which has been evaluated in several diseases characterized by aberrant angiogenesis, has never been measured in patients with HHT.
Aims: To evaluate VEGF serum levels in HHT patients as compared to normal subjects.
Materials and methods: 32 HHT patients (age 47.7 +/- 16.7 years) and a control group of 37 healthy subjects (age 48.2 +/- 15.5 years) were entered in the study. Each patient underwent serum VEGF dosage using a commercial ELISA specific for the human molecule.
Results: The serum level of VEGF in HHT patients was 196.3 +/- 103.2 pg/ml, while it was 152.0 +/- 84.1 pg/ml in the control group. Statistical analysis showed that serum VEGF was significantly higher in HHT patients than in the controls (p < 0.031).
Conclusions: According to a study performed in a murine model, persistence of the activation phase of angiogenesis might be responsible for an increased production of several angiogenic factors, in particular VEGF, in HHT. Our work is the first to suggest an increased expression of VEGF in the serum of subjects with HHT in agreement with the stimulation of VEGF synthesis proposed in the murine model.
Copyright 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel