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.