Article Text

PDF

Is thickening of the basal lamina in the saphenous vein a hallmark of smoking?
  1. D. J. Higman,
  2. J. T. Powell,
  3. R. M. Greenhalgh,
  4. A. Coady,
  5. J. Moss
  1. Department of Surgery, Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, London.

    Abstract

    OBJECTIVE--To investigate whether smoking causes ultrastructural changes in the intima of the proximal saphenous vein. DESIGN--Proximal saphenous veins from heavy smokers and non-smokers were examined with scanning and transmission electron microscopy to determine changes in surface ultrastructure, in the intercellular junction, and in the thickness of the basal lamina. Immunogold labelling was used to identify specific components of the endothelial basal lamina. MATERIAL--Vein specimens were obtained from patients undergoing varicose vein surgery (12 patients) or distal bypass surgery (eight patients). MAIN RESULTS--The only ultrastructural change that discriminated between specimens was thickening of the endothelial basal lamina. All specimens with a thickened basal lamina were from heavy smokers. Immunogold labelling studies showed that the thickened basal lamina contained specific accumulations of fibronectin but not heparan sulphate proteoglycans, type IV collagen, or laminin. CONCLUSIONS--Two ultrastructural characteristics are associated with smoking: thickening of the endothelial basal lamina and a specific accumulation of fibronectin in the thickened basal lamina. Such abnormalities in the saphenous veins from smokers may contribute to the poorer performance of these veins as bypass conduits.

    Statistics from Altmetric.com

    Request permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.