Glomeruloid vascular structures in glioblastoma multiforme: an immunohistochemical and ultrastructural study

J Neurosurg. 1996 Dec;85(6):1078-84. doi: 10.3171/jns.1996.85.6.1078.


Microvascular proliferation and glomeruloid vascular structures are important histopathological features of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). The nature of cells participating in the formation of these structures remains unclear and is the subject of this study. To define these cells better, immunohistochemical markers directed against Factor VIII-related antigen (FVIIIR:Ag), alpha smooth-muscle actin (alpha-SMA), and the lectin Ulex europaeus agglutinin type I (UEA-I) were used. Cells lining the vascular channels and a large number of proliferating abluminal cells participating in glomeruloid vascular structure formation showed positive cytoplasmic staining for FVIIIR:Ag and UEA-I. Abluminal and luminal cells were variably labeled for alpha-SMA. Ultrastructurally, complex aggregates of focally anastomosing capillaries with narrow lumina composed the glomeruloid vascular structure. Endothelial cells were hyperplastic, varied in size and shape, overlapped focally, and contained numerous cytoplasmic filaments. Tight junctions bound together adjacent and overlapping endothelial cells. Weibel-Palade bodies, usually absent from brain microvessels, were present in increased numbers in the newly formed capillaries. Each capillary loop was surrounded by basal lamina encompassing a discontinuous layer of pericytes. This study indicates that glomeruloid vascular structures in GBM are complex aggregates of newly formed microchannels lined with hyperplastic endothelial cells that have an altered morphological phenotype and that these microchannels are supported by basal lamina and pericytes and are devoid of astrocytic end-feet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / analysis
  • Adult
  • Brain Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / ultrastructure*
  • Glioblastoma / chemistry
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Glioblastoma / ultrastructure*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lectins / analysis
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Plant Lectins*
  • von Willebrand Factor / analysis


  • Actins
  • Lectins
  • Plant Lectins
  • Ulex europaeus lectins
  • von Willebrand Factor