The histopathology of 36 cases of plexogenic pulmonary arteriopathy

Histopathology. 1990 Jan;16(1):9-19. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2559.1990.tb01054.x.


A detailed histopathological study was made of the lungs of 36 cases of plexogenic pulmonary arteriopathy coming to combined heart-lung transplantation. It revealed two dissimilar processes involved in the pathogenesis of this disease. One comprised histological appearances consistent with constriction of muscular pulmonary arteries, a condition that would be likely to be reversed by pulmonary vasodilators. The other was the proliferation of myofibroblasts in the intima and lumen of pulmonary arteries, a disorder of growth unlikely to be influenced by this type of therapy. In previous ultrastructural studies we have shown that the source of these cells of muscular pedigree is muscle cells from the inner half of the media which migrate into the intima through gaps in the inner elastic lamina. In the present study we found a similar proliferation of myofibroblasts in the intima, not only of pulmonary arteries, but also of pulmonary veins, in plexogenic pulmonary arteriopathy. Arterial thrombi found were considered to be a complication rather than a cause of plexogenic pulmonary arteriopathy. Siderophages, cholesterol granulomas and focal fibrosis in the lung were considered to be a consequence of intrapulmonary haemorrhage early in the course of the disease. It is concluded that, while plexogenic pulmonary arteriopathy has an important vasoconstrictive element, it is also based on a disorder of growth of cells of muscular pedigree. This view has clear implications for the therapy of primary plexogenic pulmonary arteriopathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Artery / pathology*
  • Pulmonary Veins / pathology*
  • Vascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Vascular Diseases / pathology*