Increase of circulating endothelial cells in patients with Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia

Margherita Massa, Cecilia Canzonieri, Rita Campanelli, Federica Ornati, Gabriela Fois, Fabio Pagella, Elina Matti, Elisabetta Buscarini, Cesare Danesino, Vittorio Rosti, Carla Olivieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by vascular malformations. The genes known to be associated with HHT include ENG (HHT1), ACVRL1 (HHT2) and SMAD4 (JPHT). It has been reported that circulating CD34+ cell subsets repair damaged vessels. To investigate whether mobilization of these cells is present in the peripheral blood (PB) of HTT patients, we analyzed CD34+ cells, CD34+VEGFR-2+ progenitor or mature endothelial cells, and CD34+CD133+VEGFR-2 hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs). Cytofluorimetric analysis was performed in 150 HTT patients and 43 healthy subjects (CTRLs). In HTT patients, PB CD34+ cells were significantly increased; the frequency of endothelial cells was higher (P = 0.002), while the frequency of CD34+CD133+VEGFR-2 HPCs was lower (P = 0.00007) than in CTRLs. Results were comparable in patients with ENG or ACVRL1 gene mutation; in patients with ENG mutation, the frequency of the cell subsets inversely correlated with the age of the patients at time of sampling (CD34+), disease duration (CD34+VEGFR-2+), and age at disease onset (CD34+CD133+ VEGFR-2). In conclusion, HHT patients show an increase of circulating endothelial cells and a decrease of HPCs. In patients with ENG mutation, the frequency of CD34+ endothelial cells correlates with specific clinical characteristics suggesting that their active turnover characterizes the initial phase of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Hematology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • ACVRL1
  • CD34<sup>+</sup>CD133<sup>+</sup>VEGFR-2<sup>−</sup> cells
  • CD34<sup>+</sup>VEGFR-2<sup>+</sup> cells
  • Circulating CD34<sup>+</sup> cell
  • ENG
  • Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Medicine(all)

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