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Am J Surg Pathol. 2008 Apr;32(4):553-9. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0b013e31815a04db.

IgG4-positive plasma cells in inflammatory abdominal aortic aneurysm: the possibility of an aortic manifestation of IgG4-related sclerosing disease.

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Department of Pathology,School of Medicine, Fukuoka University, Japan.


Inflammatory abdominal aortic aneurysm (IAA) is associated with autoimmune disease. However, the precise mechanism of IAA remains unclear. There is increasing evidence that IgG4 is involved in the autoimmune mechanism of various idiopathic sclerosing lesions, including sclerosing pancreatitis and retroperitoneal fibrosis. The present study investigated the hypothesis that the IgG4-related autoimmune reaction is involved in the formation of IAA. The study group consisted of 11 cases of IAA (69.2 +/- 8.59y) and 12 age-matched cases of atherosclerotic abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA, 69.6 +/- 5.94y), which were used in the previous report. A clinicopathologic examination of these lesions was performed, including histology and immunohistochemistry, in relation to the involvement of IgG4-positive plasma cells in the formation of IAA. No difference in the incidence of risk factors for atherosclerosis was observed between the patients with IAA and AAA. Autoimmune diseases were diagnosed in 2 patients with IAA, including rheumatoid arthritis and polyarteritis nodosa. A patient with IAA had pulmonary fibrosis. In contrast, autoimmune diseases were absent in patients with AAA. However, there was no significant difference in the incidence of autoimmune diseases between the patients with IAA and AAA. Lymphocyte and plasma cell infiltration and fibrosis were significantly more intense and extensive in IAA than in AAA. In addition, lymph follicle formation and vasculitis of small veins and arteries were frequently found in the affected lesions of IAA. Immunohistochemically, IAA showed a significant increase in the number of infiltrating IgG4-positive plasma cells and the incidence of a disrupted follicular dendritic cell network in lymph follicles, in comparison with AAA. These findings suggest that IAA may be an aortic lesion reflecting the presence of IgG4-related sclerosing disease, and not a simple inflammatory aneurysm of the aorta.

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