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CD105 positive neovessels are prevalent in early stage carotid lesions, and correlate with the grade in more advanced carotid and coronary plaques

Ana Luque123, Mark Slevin24, Marta M Turu2, Oriol Juan-Babot2, Lina Badimon2 and Jerzy Krupinski1235*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, Stroke Unit, Hospital Universitari Mutua Terrassa, Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain

2 Cardiovascular Research Center, CSIC-ICCC, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau (UAB), Barcelona, Spain

3 Fundacio IDIBELL, Barcelona, Spain

4 School of Biology, Chemistry and Health Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK

5 Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

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Journal of Angiogenesis Research 2009, 1:6  doi:10.1186/2040-2384-1-6

Published: 21 September 2009



Previous studies have demonstrated that expression of CD105 is a sensitive marker and indicator of endothelial cell/microvessel activation and proliferation in aggressive solid tumour growth and atherosclerotic plaque lesions. Since intimal neovascularization contributes significantly to subsequent plaque instability, haemorrhage and rupture.


We have used immunohistochemical analysis to investigate the expression of CD105-positive vessels in both large (carotid) and medium calibre (coronary and middle cerebral artery, MCAs) diseased vessels in an attempt to identify any correlation with plaque growth, stage and complication/type.


Here we show, that carotid arteries expressed intimal neovascularization associated with CD105-positive endothelial cells, concomitant with increased inflammation in early stage lesions, preatheroma (I-III) whilst they were not present in coronary plaques of the same grade. Some of these CD105-positive neovessels were immature, thin walled and without smooth muscle cell coverage making them more prone to haemorrhage and rupture. In high-grade lesions, neovessel proliferation was similar in both arterial types and significantly higher numbers of CD105-positive vasa vasorum were associated with plaque regions in coronary arteries. In contrast, although the MCAs exhibited expanded intimas and established plaques, there were very few CD105 positive neovessels.


Our results show that CD105 is a useful marker of angiogenesis within adventitial and intimal vessels and suggest the existence of significant differences in the pathological development of atherosclerosis in separate vascular beds which may have important consequences when considering management and treatment of this disease.