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Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2015 Aug;41(5):646-56. doi: 10.1111/nan.12159. Epub 2015 Apr 30.

Fatty acid binding protein 4 expression in cerebral vascular malformations: implications for vascular remodelling.

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Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.
Department of Neurosurgery, University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center and University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA.
Department of Pathology, University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center and University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA.



Arteriovenous malformations (AVM) and cavernous malformations (CM) are the most commonly encountered cerebral vascular malformations, which are dynamic lesions with de novo growth potentials. Postnatal angiogenesis and vasculogenesis have been postulated to play a role in the pathogenesis of these malformations. Fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4) is an intracellular lipid chaperone, which is expressed in a subset of endothelial cells. FABP4 enhances the angiogenic responses of endothelial cells and is not expressed in normal cerebral vasculature. Herein, we investigated the hypothesis that FABP4 expression may be up-regulated in AVM and CM.


The abundance of FABP4 expression was analysed by immunohistochemistry on 35 paraffin-embedded AVM and CM sections. FABP4-expressing cells were further characterized by double immunofluorescence using antibodies against various cell-specific markers.


Heterogenous FABP4 expression was detected in 100% AVM and 78% of CM samples. Endothelial cell FABP4 expression was present in 65% and 43% of AVM and CM, respectively. Interestingly, a population of FABP4-positive perivascular cells was detected in 100% of AVM and 86% of CM sections examined. These cells were negative for markers of macrophages and smooth muscle cells, but expressed vimentin, a marker of mesenchymal cells, including fibroblasts.


FABP4 expression is detected in AVM and CM in a subset of endothelial cells and some perivascular fibroblast-like vimentin-positive cells.


angiogenesis, arteriovenous malformation; cavernous malformation; cerebral vascular malformations; endothelium; fatty acid binding protein 4; fibroblast

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