Expression of apoptosis in human saphenous vein grafts in restoration of blood flow through coronary bypass surgery

Rev Bras Cir Cardiovasc. Jul-Sep 2009;24(3):312-7. doi: 10.1590/s0102-76382009000400009.


Objective: To investigate the possible role of apoptosis on brief distensions of human saphenous veins at different pressures.

Methods: Fresh isolated grafts of human saphenous vein were assigned as control or distended (D) for fifteen seconds at 100, 200 and 300 mmHg. The degree of apoptotic caspases 3, 8, 9 and anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 expression were assessed by immunohistochemistry.

Results: Fresh isolated segments of distended human saphenous veins presented similar apoptotic protein expression when compared with control veins. However, the Bcl-2 expression was significantly higher in the 300 mmHg distended segments compared with the control vein.

Conclusion: These findings show that intact segments of human saphenous veins submitted to distensions at different pressures have similar apoptotic proteins expression when compared with non-distended control veins. Therefore, brief distensions commonly performed during surgical harvesting do not trigger apoptosis, and probably are not involved on the physiopathological mechanisms that lead to graft failure.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Caspase 8 / metabolism
  • Caspase 9 / metabolism
  • Coronary Artery Bypass*
  • Humans
  • Pressure
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology
  • Saphenous Vein / metabolism*
  • Saphenous Vein / pathology
  • Stress, Mechanical*


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • CASP3 protein, human
  • CASP8 protein, human
  • CASP9 protein, human
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspase 8
  • Caspase 9