A histological and functional description of the tissue causing chronic postthrombotic venous obstruction

Published:February 26, 2015DOI:


      • Immunohisto chemical study of venous intraluminal tissue evolving from acute DVT
      • Specimen content is predominantly collagen type I
      • Younger specimens express higher levels of the vasoactive receptor VEGFR2
      • Older specimens express higher levels of VWF
      • All specimens demonstrate recanalization and neovascularization



      Postthrombotic intraluminal tissue causing postthrombotic syndrome (PTS) has not been well described. This study defines its histological characteristics and assess whether tissue function evolves over time.


      Specimens from 18 common femoral veins (CFV) from 16 patients obtained during CFV endovenectomy and iliocaval recanalization were examined. Phase 1 used hematoxylin and eosin and Masson’s trichrome stains for collagen, immunohistochemical, and Von Kossa stains. Phase 2 examined young (≤ one year) and mature (≥10 years from acute DVT) specimens to evaluate evolution of endothelial function. Antibodies to four biomarkers were used to examine specific functions of endothelial cells lining neovessels and recanalization channels (RC).


      Phase 1: Specimens demonstrated 80-90% of collagen type I, 10-20% of collagen type III, and dystrophic calcification. Neovessels and RC were in close proximity to each other. Thrombus and smooth muscle cells were absent, but white blood cells were present. Phase 2: VEGFR2 receptor uptake was more abundant in neovessels than RC and more prominent in younger specimens. Neovascular, nonchannel cells were observed more frequently in young specimens. CD-31 was similar in young and mature specimens. TIE-2 and von Willebrand factor antibodies had greater uptake in mature specimens.


      Tissue causing chronic postthrombotic venous obstruction is predominantly type I collagen. Neovascularization and recanalization occur in close proximity. The biomarker for neovascularization and angiogenesis (VEGFR2) was more prominent in young specimens whereas TIE-2, a stabilizing biomarker and vWF were more frequently observed in mature specimens.


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