Histological evaluation of endothelial reactions after endovascular coil embolization for intracranial aneurysm. Clinical and experimental studies and review of the literature

Interv Neuroradiol. 2003 May 15;9(Suppl 1):69-82. doi: 10.1177/15910199030090S109. Epub 2004 Oct 22.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of the endothelial cell reaction after endovascular coil embolization for the treatment of intracranial aneurysms. A scanning electron microscopic (SEM) study of the platinum coil, embolized into a middle cerebral aneurysm in a 35-year-old woman and subsequently removed surgically eight months later, revealed no endothelial coverage on the coil. This finding prompted us to perform experimental studies. In the first in vitro study, endothelial cells from gerbil brain microvessels and canine carotid arteries were co-cultured with either bare-form platinum coils or type-1 collagen-coated coils for up to three weeks, and the endothelial cell population on the coils was ascertained. In the second in vivo study, platinum coils coated with type-1 collagen were delivered endovascularly into canine carotid arteries, while the contralateral side was treated with bare-form coils, and endothelialization over the coil was investigated. SEM studies revealed that no endothelial cells, either from gerbil brain microvessels or from canine carotid artery, were found on the uncoated coils, whereas gerbil endothelial cells began to proliferate on the collagen-coated coils in three days, covering extensively in one week and reaching confluence in two weeks in vitro. The in vivo canine study demonstrated that bare-form platinum coils did not show endothelial coverage until two weeks, but endothelial cells proliferated directly on the collagen-coated coils in three days, and coils were completely covered in two weeks. These results supported the SEM study of our case and several human histopathological reports in the literature in that endothelial cell coverage in the orifice of the intracranial aneurysm is exceptional after endovascular treatment. But if some extracellular matrix, like collagen in our study, is prepared, coverage could be possible, as is seen in a few human cases. Biological modification of the platinum coils, such as collagen coating, is awaited for the better long-term results of endovascular coil embolization without recanalization of the treated intracranial aneurysms.