The differential expression of VEGF, VEGFR-2, and GLUT-1 proteins in disease subtypes of systemic sclerosis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Our aim was to evaluate (a) whether there is differential expression of the endothelial regulator vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), its receptor (VEGFR-2), and the hypoxia-associated glucose transporter molecule, GLUT-1, in skin biopsies from different disease subtypes of systemic sclerosis (SSc) and (b) whether they associate with dermal calcinosis, a significant complication of SSc. Skin punch biopsies were taken from the forearms of 66 SSc patients including 18 with limited cutaneous disease without calcinosis (lcSSc), 23 with calcinosis (lcSSc/cal), and 25 with diffuse cutaneous disease (dcSSc) and from 12 healthy control subjects. The histological appearance of the skin was graded as G0 (normal), G1 (dermal edema), or G2 or G3 (increasing fibrotic changes). Immunohistochemistry was performed with antibodies to VEGF, VEGFR-2, and GLUT-1. Staining was assessed in the epidermis, microvessels, and fibroblasts. The Kruskal-Wallis 1-way analysis of variance was used to compare the data between disease groups. VEGF protein was located in the epidermis and in dermal endothelial cells, pericytes, fibroblasts, and inflammatory cells. In dcSSc only, there was a significant increase in VEGF staining intensity in the keratinocytes and pericytes and the lowest percentage of microvessels with VEGF-positive endothelial cells. GLUT-1 protein was located in the epidermis, erythrocytes, and perineurium. In both lcSSc/cal and dcSSC, but not lcSSc, there were significant increases in GLUT-1 staining intensity of keratinocytes. We propose that in patients with dcSSc, there is a net increase in unbound VEGF in skin that may account for the raised levels of VEGF in serum reported by others. Increased GLUT-1 expression in lcSSc/cal and dcSSc indicates that hypoxia is an associated factor. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)190-197
    Number of pages7
    JournalHuman Pathology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


    • GLUT-1
    • Immunohistochemistry
    • Skin
    • Systemic sclerosis
    • VEGF


    Dive into the research topics of 'The differential expression of VEGF, VEGFR-2, and GLUT-1 proteins in disease subtypes of systemic sclerosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this