Gene expression analysis of nidus of cerebral arteriovenous malformations reveals vascular structures with deficient differentiation and maturation

PLoS One  2018 Jun 13;13(6):e0198617. | https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0198617  

Jaya Mary Thomas, Sumi Surendran, Mathew Abraham, Dhakshmi Sasankan, Sridutt Bhaadri, Arumugam Rajavelu*, Chandrasekharan C. Kartha

Abstract

Objective

Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are characterised by tangles of dysplastic blood vessels which shunt blood from arteries to veins with no intervening capillary bed. It is not known at what stage of development and differentiation, AVM vessels became aberrant. To address this, we have analysed the expression of vascular differentiation, vascular maturation and brain capillary specific genes in AVM nidus.

Methodology

We performed immunohistochemistry and western blot analysis of vascular differentiation (HEY2, DLL4, EFNB2, and COUP-TFII), vascular maturation (ENG and KLF2) and brain capillary specific genes (GGTP and GLUT1) on ten surgically excised human brain AVMs and ten normal human brain tissues.

Results

Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that AVM vessels co-express both artery and vein differentiation genes. H-score analysis revealed that there is statistically significant (P < 0.0001) increase in expression of these proteins in AVM vessels compared to control vessels. These findings were further confirmed by western blot analysis and found to be statistically significant (P < 0.0001 and P < 0.001) for all proteins except Hey2. Both immunostaining and western blot analysis revealed that AVM vessels express GGTP and GLUT1, markers specific to brain capillaries. Immunofluorescent staining demonstrated that expression of KLF2, a vascular maturation marker is significantly (P <0.001) decreased in AVM vessels and was further confirmed by western blot analysis (P < 0.001). Immunohistochemical and western blot analysis demonstrated that another vascular maturation protein Endoglin had high expression in AVM vessels compared to control vessels. The results were found to be statistically significant (P < 0.0001).

Summary

Our findings suggest that vascular structures of AVMs co-express markers specific for arteries, veins and capillaries. We conclude that AVM nidus constitutes of aberrant vessels which are not terminally differentiated and inadequately matured.

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