The incidence of severe limb ischemia (SLI) is high among haemodialysis (HD) patients. Limb rescue rate after surgical revascularization is relatively poor compared with patients with normal renal function. Prostanoids are an interesting category as adjuvants to revascularization. New vessel growth develops not exclusively by proliferation of endothelial cells in vascular extremities but also by cells mobilized from the bone marrow (HSC), transformed into endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) contributing to both re-endothelialization and neovascularization. Basal number of HSC and EPC is significantly reduced in HD patients and correlated with a subsequent defective neovascularization. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of perioperative treatment with iloprost in uremic patients with acute ischemia of lower limbs, undergoing surgical revascularization, on endothelial progenitor cells, hypothesizing a possible biological mechanism induced by the prostanoids. A search was also made for vascular remodeling processes through the analysis of the concentrations of soluble adhesion molecules (i-CAM, v-CAM, e-selectin), biochemical markers of endothelial activation. Thirty HD patients with SLI undergoing peripheral revascularization were enrolled (15 were treated with iloprost and 15 with a placebo). Iloprost was administered as an intra-arterial bolus of 3000 ng over 1 to 3 min immediately after revascularization and in the same affected artery. Serum samples were taken before revascularization (T0), at 6 (T6) and 24 h (T24) after infusion to measure sICAM-1, sE-selectin, and sVCAM-1, and for quantification of HSC and EPC. Progenitors were identified by specific surface markers CD34+, CD133+ and VEGFR2+. Count was conducted using PROCOUNT performed in a TRUCOUNT tube and with a FACSort flow cytometer. Before revascularization, all patients showed a decreased number of HSC and EPC. After 6 h, HSC augmented significantly compared with T0 in both groups. The iloprost group attained a significant increase compared with the placebo group. HSC levels reduced drastically at T24. EPC augmented significantly compared with basal level after 24 h. In the iloprost group, the increase was considerable compared with the placebo group. A close negative correlation, assessed by Pearson coefficient (r), was found between HSC and EPC at T24 in the iloprost group (R = 0.82 P < 0.01). Adhesion molecules had increased levels at T6 and T24 in both groups. Moreover, a close positive correlation, assessed by Pearson coefficient, was found between EPC and adhesion molecules in both groups but the iloprost group maintained a better statistical association. Revascularization stimulated HSC and EPC release from bone marrow but at a different time: HSC increased suddenly at 6 h and diminished to a minimal amount at T24, conversely, EPC increased significantly only at T24. Iloprost treatment was able to amplify this mechanism validating recent findings (North TE et al., ). Adhesion molecules as markers of endothelial activation and vascular development confirmed this tendency.
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