Background: The effect of percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) in the treatment of hemodialysis vascular access stenosis is attenuated by a high restenosis rate, which results mainly from neointimal hyperplasia. Cellular proliferation is one of the most important biological mechanisms involved in neointimal hyperplasia and may be a potential target of intervention to prevent restenosis.
Methods: We investigated the activity of cellular proliferation of restenotic lesions by means of immunohistochemistry, using an antibody to the proliferating cell nuclear antigen. Specimens from 10 primary stenotic and 20 restenotic lesions of 30 Brescia-Cimino fistulae were obtained during revision.
Results: The proliferation index of the restenotic group was strikingly significantly greater than that of the primary stenotic group (intima, P < 0.001; media, P = 0.001). Proliferation indices of patients with diabetes in the restenotic group were significantly higher than those of patients without diabetes (intima, P = 0.028; media, P = 0.002). In the restenotic group, proliferation indices correlated negatively with the interval from PTA to restenosis (intima, r = -0.741; P < 0.001; media, r = -0.589; P = 0.006) and positively with the number of PTAs per lesion (intima, r = 0.754; P < 0.001; media, r = 0.506; P = 0.004).
Conclusion: We show markedly high cellular proliferation activity in early restenotic lesions of arteriovenous fistulae. These findings indicate that adjunctive antiproliferative therapy is mandatory in preventing restenosis after PTA, especially in patients with diabetes.