Surgical specimens of vein were obtained from the tertiary venous network and/or saphenous vein from patients (n=20) affected by chronic venous disease (CVD). Into the venous segments, which subsequently were surgically ablated, the following hemodynamic parameters were assessed by echo-color-doppler (ECD): peak systolic velocity, end diastolic velocity, whose combination allowed the calculation of the resistance index (RI) and the reflux time (RT). Highly purified venous endothelial cell (VEC) cultures derived from venous segments of these CVD patients were then characterized for the profile of cytokines and chemokines released in the culture supernatants. Among the 27 cytokines and chemokines examined, we found a positive and significant correlation (R=0.5; p=0.03) only between the spontaneous release of PDGF-BB by VEC cultures and the RT values of the patients from which the VEC were isolates. In addition, the release of PDGF-BB in the VEC culture supernatants was significantly (p<0.01) increased upon in vitro treatment with recombinant TNF-α. By using pharmacological inhibitors, specific for the main pathways, NF-kB, ERK1/2 and p38 MAPK, activated by exposure of endothelial cells to TNF-α, we found that only NF-kB appeared to be significantly involved in mediating the PDGF-BB induction by TNF-α. Of interest, the release of PDGF-BB in response to the in vitro inflammatory stimulation, maintained a positive and significant correlation with RT (R=0.6; p=0.01), while showing a negative correlation with RI (R=-0.5; p=0.03). The potential implications of our findings for the pathophysiology of CVD are discussed.
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