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J Inherit Metab Dis. 2010 Feb;33(1):69-78. doi: 10.1007/s10545-009-9018-5. Epub 2010 Jan 5.

Abnormal nonstoring capillary endothelium: a novel feature of Gaucher disease. Ultrastructural study of dermal capillaries.

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Faculty of Medicine and General Teaching Hospital, Institute of Inherited Metabolic Disorders, Charles University in Prague, Praha, Czech Republic.


Ultrastructural study of skin biopsies in two cases of Gaucher disease (GD) patients (types II and III) revealed hitherto unknown alteration of the blood capillary endothelial cells (ECs) featured by hypertrophy and numerous subplasmalemmal microvesicles underneath both the apical and basal membranes. There was also prominent apical membrane folding with formation of filiform and large cytoplasmic projections, with occasional transcapillary cytoplasmic bridges. Similar, though less frequently expressed, changes were manifested at the basal membrane by numerous cytoplasmic projections into the subendothelial space. Regressive changes with EC breakdown were rare. Lysosomal storage was always absent. Besides EC hypertrophy, there was also increased EC density in the capillary lumen, leading to pronounced changes in capillary architecture with loose or incomplete EC anchoring. There were also signs of EC sprouting. Some pericytes displayed an increase in size and number of cytoplasmic processes, which often extended into distant pericapillary regions. The spectrum of changes suggests that a significant positive growth effect on EC occurs in GD. The putative mechanisms triggered by GBA1 deficiency leading to EC involvement are discussed. The authors are well aware of the fact the results, based on a nontraditional type of bioptic samples, are preliminary, but they are worth following, as further ultrastructural and functional studies of blood endothelium in GD may open a novel field in molecular cell pathophysiology of the disorder: endothelial dysfunction.

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