We studied the biological features and the immunophenotype of a cell culture established from the lesion of soft tissues of a woman affected by Gorham-Stout syndrome. We found that these cells belonged to a monocytic lineage with some characteristics of immature osteoclasts and were able to release large amounts of osteoclastogenic and angiogenic molecules that may contribute to disease progression. Introduction: Gorham-Stout syndrome is a rare disease characterized by osteolysis and proliferation of vascular or lymphatic vessels, with a severe outcome. Its etiology and the identification of the cell types involved are completely unknown. Materials and Methods: A cell culture from a lesion of soft tissues was established, and its behavior in vitro and in immunodeficient mice was studied. We analyzed (1) the cell phenotype by flow cytometry; (2) the adhesive and migratory properties on different substrates; (3) the ability to differentiate into mature osteoclasts; (4) the production of osteclastogenic and angiogenic molecules; (5) the in vivo angiogenic activity of the cells subcutaneously implanted in mouse in a Matrigel plug; and (6) the ability to recapitulate the disease when transplanted in nude mice. Results and Conclusions: The established culture consisted of a morphologically homogeneous cell population belonging to a monocytic lineage having some features of an osteoclast-like cell type. Cells had an invasive phenotype, were angiogenic, and produced osteoclastogenic (IL-6, TGF-β1, IL-1β) and angiogenic (vascular endothelial growth factor-A [VEGF-A], CXCL-8) molecules when challenged with inflammatory cytokines. Immunodeficient mice injected with these cells did not show any bone lesions or vascular alteration, but had high amounts of circulating human IL-6 and VEGF-A. Cells isolated from a cutaneous lymphangiomatosis did not show any of these findings. These data suggest that cells of monocyte-macrophage lineage play an essential role in the pathogenesis of Gorham-Stout disease, whose progression is propelled by cytokine circuits that accelerate angiogenesis and osteoclastogenesis.
- Gorham-Stout disease
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