The normal human myometrium has a vascular spatial gradient absent in small fibroids

Aitken, E., Khaund, A., Hamid, S.A., Millan, D. and Campbell, S. (2006) The normal human myometrium has a vascular spatial gradient absent in small fibroids. Human Reproduction, 21, pp. 2669-2678. (doi:10.1093/humrep/del220)

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: The human uterine vasculature is highly structured, exhibiting circumferential and radial branching. Previously published angiograms of the arterial network describe a system of regular coils. Uterine fibroids lack this structured vasculature. In this study, we make a comparison between the vasculature in normal myometrium and in fibroids using robust stereological methods thus far lacking in the literature. METHODS: Stereological and morphometric analysis of the vascular system was carried out on 15 normal and 27 small fibroid (5–40 mm) uteri taken from women suffering menorrhagia. Projected images of published angiograms were also re-examined, measuring tortuosity. RESULTS: A decreasing gradient of vascular smooth muscle from outer to inner myometrium was found in normal uteri, with no corresponding gradient in capillary tissue fraction. An association between vascular luminal size, amplitude and frequency of vessel bending was also established. Conversely, fibroids were found to lack structured or muscularized vasculature. CONCLUSIONS: A quantitative gradient within the myometrial vascular system, which is absent in fibroids, has been demonstrated. These structural differences between diseased and healthy tissues are probably because of differing expression of angiogenic growth factors and may explain the distribution of particles seen after uterine artery embolization.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Campbell, Dr Stewart
Authors: Aitken, E., Khaund, A., Hamid, S.A., Millan, D., and Campbell, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
Journal Name:Human Reproduction

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