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Can J Vet Res. 2006 Jul;70(3):206-10.

Endothelial cell hypertrophy is associated with microvascular occlusion in horse wounds.

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Département de biomédecine vétérinaire, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, Québec.


Wound repair in horse limbs is often complicated by excessive fibroplasia and scarring. Occlusion of the microvessels populating the granulation tissue appears to be involved in the excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix during the repair of limb wounds. This study aimed to determine whether endothelial cell hypertrophy or hyperplasia, or both, contribute to microvascular occlusion and whether the pericyte is involved in this anomaly. We created 5 wounds, each 2.5 x 2.5 cm, on both forelimbs and on the body of 6 horses. One limb was bandaged to stimulate excessive wound fibroplasia. Weekly biopsy specimens were evaluated by transmission electron microscopy to measure microvessel luminal diameters and the surface area of endothelial cells and to count endothelial cells and pericytes. Microvessels were occluded significantly more often in limb wounds than in body wounds. The surface area of endothelial cells lining occluded microvessels (mean +/- standard error, 28.4013 +/- 1.5154 microm2) was significantly greater (P = 0.05) than that of cells lining patent microvessels (26.2220 +/- 1.5268 microm2). Conversely, neither the number of endothelial cells nor the number of pericytes differed between patent and occluded microvessels or between limb and body wounds. Furthermore, the wound location and the status of the microvessels (patent or occluded) did not alter the ratio of endothelial cells to pericytes. These data suggest that endothelial cell hypertrophy might play a role in the microvascular occlusion present in granulation tissue of limb wounds in horses, but the contribution of the pericyte remains obscure.

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