Background. This paper presents an investigation into the expression of endothelial cells and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the aortic wall in vascular diseases such as atherosclerotic abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAAA), inflammatory abdominal aortic aneurysm (IAAA), and aortic occlusive disease (AOD) to determine whether the differences in both neovascularization and angiogenic factor expression are related to the pathogenesis of aortic vascular disease. Materials and methods. Surgical specimens of aorta (10 IAAA, 13 AAAA, 6 AOD) were studied pathologically and immunohistochemically. Representative sections of aorta were stained with hematoxylin-eosin, elastica von Gieson, CD34, and VEGF antibody. CD34-positive microvessels and VEGF-positive cells in the media and adventitia were counted, respectively. Results. CD34-positive microvessels were detected in IAAA > AAAA > AOD (one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), P < 0.0001). VEGF expression was widely detected in macrophages, monocytes, and smooth muscle cells of IAAA and AAAA; however, it was hardly recognized in AOD. VEGF-positive cells were detected in IAAA > AAAA > AOD specimens (ANOVA, P < 0.0001). Conclusions. VEGF is known to be a regulator of angiogenesis and to simultaneously stimulate elastolytic proteinases. The results of this study suggest that an angiogenic factor, such as VEGF, may play an important role in the degeneration of the aortic wall and could be strongly related to the pathogenesis of IAAA, AAAA, and AOD.
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