Ultrastructure and three-dimensional organization of the telangiectases of hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia

J Invest Dermatol. 1990 Oct;95(4):422-7. doi: 10.1111/1523-1747.ep12555569.


We studied 10 cutaneous telangiectatic lesions of hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT), ranging in size from pinpoint to 2 mm, by light and electron microscopy. Four representative lesions were reconstructed by computer from serial 1- or 2-mm plastic embedded sections. The earliest clinically detectable lesion of HHT is a focal dilatation of postcapillary venules, which continue to enlarge and eventually connect with dilated arterioles through capillaries. As the vascular lesion increases in size, the capillary segments disappear and a direct arterio-venous communication is formed. This entire sequence of morphologic events is associated with a perivascular mononuclear cell infiltrate in which the majority of cells are lymphocytes and the minority are monocytes/macrophages by ultrastructure. Comparison of these findings with the telangiectatic mats of scleroderma and cherry angiomas revealed that the former, previously shown to be composed of dilated postcapillary venules, are also associated with perivascular infiltrates, but the latter, which are produced by capillary loop aneurysms, are not.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arterioles / pathology
  • Arterioles / ultrastructure*
  • Epidermis / pathology
  • Epidermis / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Structural
  • Reference Values
  • Skin / blood supply*
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin / ultrastructure
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / pathology*
  • Venules / pathology
  • Venules / ultrastructure*