Aims: To determine the expression of WT1 in endothelial proliferations and tumours. Endothelial cells are derived from angioblasts which differentiate into bone marrow stem cells (BMSC). BMSC are characterized by the constitutive expression of the WT1 gene and we have postulated that its expression may be maintained during the differentiation of angioblasts to endothelial cells. Methods and results: The expression of WT1 was studied in human umbilical vein-derived (HUVEC) and brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBME) as well as in a Kaposi sarcoma (KS) cell line in vitro. Forty-two human skin biopsy samples of endothelial proliferations and tumours were analysed for the protein expression of WT1 using the monoclonal antibodies for wt-WT1 (6F-H2) and its 17AA+ variant (2C12). WT1 expression was detectable in HUVEC and KS cells and all WT1 splice variants examined (17AA+/- KTS+/-) were detectable in KS cells, while the 17AA+/- and KTS- variants were present in HUVEC. Immunohistochemical analysis of the 42 human skin biopsy samples revealed cytoplasmic WT1 expression using wild-type specific antibody (6FH2) in microvessels, which is maintained during neoangiogenesis (inflammation, haemorrhage, peritumoral angiogenesis). Around one-third of haemangiomas (3/10) and non-HIV-Kaposi sarcomas (7/18) expressed the WT1 protein in the cytoplasm of tumour cells compared with its frequent expression in angiosarcomas (7/8) using the same antibody (6FH2). The nuclear 17AA+ isoform of WT1 was detectable at protein level in a small proportion of KS cases exclusively (3/7). Conclusion: Our data suggest that WT1 protein expression is maintained during angiogenesis and malignant transformation of endothelial cells and can be considered as a new endothelial marker.
- Endothelial cell
- Kaposi sarcoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cell Biology