Imbalance between angiogenic and anti-angiogenic factors in sera from patients with large-vessel vasculitis

Lia Pulsatelli, Luigi Boiardi, Elisa Assirelli, Giulia Pazzola, Francesco Muratore, Olga Addimanda, Paolo Dolzani, Annibale Versari, Massimiliano Casali, Barbara Bottazzi, Luca Magnani, Elettra Pignotti, Nicolò Pipitone, Stefania Croci, Alberto Mantovani, Carlo Salvarani, Riccardo Meliconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To investigate serum levels of a panel of angiogenic inducers (VEGF, FGF-2, Angiopoietin 1, -2, soluble VCAM-1) and inhibitors (angiostatin, endostatin, pentraxin-3) in patients with giant cell arteritis (GCA) and Takayasu's arteritis (TAK), in order to gain further insights into the molecular mechanisms driving angiogenesis dysregulation in large-vessel vasculitis (LVV).

METHODS: Sera were obtained from 33 TAK patients and 14 GCA patients and from two groups of age-matched normal controls (NC). Disease activity was assessed using 18F-FDG PET/CT and clinical indices including NIH/Kerr criteria and ITAS. Angiogenic and anti-angiogenic factor serum levels were evaluated using commercial ELISA kits. Pentraxin 3 (PTX3) serum levels were evaluated by non-commercial ELISA, as already described.

RESULTS: Among the angiogenic factors, only VEGF serum levels were significantly higher in TAK patients compared to NC. No difference was found between angiogenic factor levels in GCA patients compared to those detected in NC. Anti-angiogenic factor (Angiostatin, Endostatin, PTX3) serum levels were significantly higher in both GCA and TAK patients compared to NC. Significant associations were observed between VEGF and PTX3 levels and disease activity evaluated using PET scan and clinical indices. Cluster analysis based on PET scan scores in TAK patients showed significant ordered differences in VEGF and angiostatin serum levels. Indeed, we noted a progressive increase of VEGF and angiostatin from NC to the cluster including patients with the highest and more diffuse scan positivity.

CONCLUSIONS: Our overall results demonstrate a circulating molecular profile characterised by a prevailing expression of anti-angiogenic soluble factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Sept 17 2019


  • giant cell arteritis
  • Takayasu's arteritis
  • Positron-emission tomography
  • Angiogenic factors
  • anti-angiogenic factors


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