J Reconstr Microsurg 2011; 27(3): 173-178
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1270532
© Thieme Medical Publishers

Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and Its Receptors Are Expressed in Human Nerve Grafts

Tuija M. Ylä-Kotola1 , Susanna C. Kauhanen1 , Ilmo V. Leivo3 , Caj Haglund2 , Erkki Tukiainen1
  • 1Department of Plastic Surgery, Helsinki University Hospital, HUS
  • 2Department of Surgery, Helsinki University Hospital, HUS
  • 3Department of Pathology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
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21. Dezember 2010 (online)


Vascularization and angiogenicity of human nonvascularized nerve grafts in the second stage of facial reanimation were studied. Immunohistochemistry for endothelial markers (CD-31) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptors Flt-1 and Flk-1 was performed on distal end biopsies from 35 cross-facial nerve grafts. In grafted nonvascularized nerve, density of vascular structures (also clearly immunopositive for VEGF and both receptors) showed a mean of 166 vessels (range 78 to 267) per unit area, corresponding to control values. In addition, VEGF was expressed in axons and perineural structures. In control samples, VEGF expression was low and occurred in the myelin sheath. In nerve grafts, expression of Flt-1 and Flk-1 (less intense) was seen in axons and perineural structures. A higher density of vessels was associated with lower VEGF expression (not significant). In short, expression of VEGF and its receptors is described in human nerve grafts and compared with basic histology and p75 nerve growth factor receptor expression of the nerve graft and functional outcome of patients.


Susanna C Kauhanen, M.D. , Ph.D. 

P.O. Box 266

00029 HUS, Finland

eMail: susanna.kauhanen@hus.fi