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Rivista di Angiologia
Official Journal of the , the International Union of Phlebology and the
Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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International Angiology 2003 March;22(1):43-9
Increased mast cell infiltration in familial varicose veins: pathogenetic implications?
Kakkos S. K. 1,2, Zolota V. G. 1, Peristeropoulou P. 1, Apostolopoulou A. 1, Geroukalos G. 2, Tsolakis A. 1
1 University of Patras Medical School, Patras, Greece
2 Department of Vascular Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, St. Mary’s Hospital, London, UK
Aim. Increased infiltration of activated mast cells has been recently implicated in the pathophysiology of varicose veins. The aim of the present study was to investigate a possible association between mast cell infiltration of primary varicose veins and clinical features, which could clarify further varicose vein pathophysiology.
Methods. Seventeen patients, operated on for primary varicose veins and greater saphenous vein incompetence, participated in the study. Mast cells, distributed within the adventitia of grossly abnormal segments of the greater saphenous vein and calf varicosities removed during surgery, were identified and measured in stained tissue sections. The mast cell count, expressed as mast cells per 10 high-power fields, was subsequently associated with clinical features, including age, gender, body mass index, familial varicose veins, duration of varicose vein disease and relation to previous pregnancies, leg symptoms and findings on physical examination, clinical class and score of chronic venous insufficiency (CEAP classification).
Results. Patients with family history of varicose veins (n=7) had a significantly increased mast cell infiltration (median, interquartile range) of the abnormal venous segments (16, 8.4) in comparison with those (n=10) without such a history (9.2, 7.3), p=0.005. Mast cell infiltration had a significant inverse association with age (r=-0.49, p=0.046), but not with the remaining clinical features.
Conclusion. Our findings support the hypothesis that the increased mast cell infiltration in varicose veins is not a consequence of venous hypertension. Furthermore, the increased mast cell infiltration in familial varicose veins implies a rather primary role and therefore the presence of a distinct pathophysiology. Further investigation testing the activity of mast cells in cases of family history might reveal another step in the pathogenic mechanism of varicose veins, leading to a more rational treatment.