Gorham-stout syndrome: A monocyte-mediated cytokine propelled disease

Silvia Colucci, Giulia Taraboletti, Luca Primo, Andrea Viale, Cristina Roca, Donatella Valdembri, Massimo Geuna, Marco Pagano, Maria Grano, Anthony M. Pogrel, Adrian L. Harris, Nicholas N. Athanasou, Alberto Mantovani, Alberta Zallone, Federico Bussolino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We studied the biological features and the immunophenotype of a cell culture established from the lesion of soft tissues of a woman affected by Gorham-Stout syndrome. We found that these cells belonged to a monocytic lineage with some characteristics of immature osteoclasts and were able to release large amounts of osteoclastogenic and angiogenic molecules that may contribute to disease progression. Introduction: Gorham-Stout syndrome is a rare disease characterized by osteolysis and proliferation of vascular or lymphatic vessels, with a severe outcome. Its etiology and the identification of the cell types involved are completely unknown. Materials and Methods: A cell culture from a lesion of soft tissues was established, and its behavior in vitro and in immunodeficient mice was studied. We analyzed (1) the cell phenotype by flow cytometry; (2) the adhesive and migratory properties on different substrates; (3) the ability to differentiate into mature osteoclasts; (4) the production of osteclastogenic and angiogenic molecules; (5) the in vivo angiogenic activity of the cells subcutaneously implanted in mouse in a Matrigel plug; and (6) the ability to recapitulate the disease when transplanted in nude mice. Results and Conclusions: The established culture consisted of a morphologically homogeneous cell population belonging to a monocytic lineage having some features of an osteoclast-like cell type. Cells had an invasive phenotype, were angiogenic, and produced osteoclastogenic (IL-6, TGF-β1, IL-1β) and angiogenic (vascular endothelial growth factor-A [VEGF-A], CXCL-8) molecules when challenged with inflammatory cytokines. Immunodeficient mice injected with these cells did not show any bone lesions or vascular alteration, but had high amounts of circulating human IL-6 and VEGF-A. Cells isolated from a cutaneous lymphangiomatosis did not show any of these findings. These data suggest that cells of monocyte-macrophage lineage play an essential role in the pathogenesis of Gorham-Stout disease, whose progression is propelled by cytokine circuits that accelerate angiogenesis and osteoclastogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-218
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


  • Angiogenesis
  • Cytokine
  • Gorham-Stout disease
  • Monocyte
  • Osteoclast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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