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J Neurosurg. 1997 Jan;86(1):101-8.

Specific repression of the preproendothelin-1 gene in intracranial arteriovenous malformations.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio, USA.


Cerebrovascular arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) display abnormal vascular development and dysautoregulation of blood flow. Genetic mechanisms that contribute to the pathogenesis and phenotype of cerebral AVMs are unknown. As a first step in understanding the pathophysiology of AVMs, the authors investigated the hypothesis that endothelial dysfunction-specifically, deregulation of endothelin-1 (ET-1) secretion-contributes to the abnormal vascular phenotype and the lack of hemodynamic autoregulation elaborated by these lesions. Endothelin-1 peptide and preproendothelin-1 (ppET1) messenger RNA were not detected in the intranidal vasculature of all 17 patients with AVMs studied, but were prominently expressed in human control subjects with normal cerebrovasculature (p < 0.01). Although AVM vasculature lacked ET-1, its expression was prominent in vasculature distant from these lesions, suggesting local repression of the ppET-1 gene. Local repression of ET-1 was specific to AVMs; ET-1 in vascular malformations of patients with Sturge-Weber disease was actually elevated compared to normal controls (p < 0.01). Repression of the ppET-1 gene was an intrinsic phenotype of AVM endothelial cells and was not due to factors in the AVM microenvironment. The authors also showed that ETA receptor expression was low in AVM vasculature compared to normal controls. Together, these results demonstrate that the ppET-1 gene is locally repressed in AVM lesions and suggest a role for abnormal ppET-1 gene regulation in the pathogenesis and clinical sequelae of cerebral AVMs.

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