In pulmonary arterial hypertension, plexiform lesions are associated with severe arterial obstruction and right ventricular failure. Exploring their structure and position is crucial for understanding the interplay between hemodynamics and vascular remodeling. The aim of this research was to use synchrotron-based phase-contrast micro-CT to study the three-dimensional structure of plexiform lesions. Archived paraffin-embedded tissue samples from 14 patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (13 idiopathic, 1 with known BMPR2-mutation) were imaged. Clinical data showed high-median PVR (12.5 WU) and mPAP (68 mmHg). Vascular lesions with more than 1 lumen were defined as plexiform. Prior radiopaque dye injection in some samples facilitated 3-D rendering. Four distinct types of plexiform lesions were identified: 1) localized within or derived from monopodial branches (supernumerary arteries), often with a connection to the vasa vasorum; 2) localized between pulmonary arteries and larger airways as a tortuous transformation of intrapulmonary bronchopulmonary anastomoses; 3) as spherical structures at unexpected abrupt ends of distal pulmonary arteries; and 4) as occluded pulmonary arteries with recanalization. By appearance and localization, types 1–2 potentially relieve pressure via the bronchial circulation, as pulmonary arteries in these patients were almost invariably occluded distally. In addition, types 1–3 were often surrounded by dilated thin-walled vessels, often connected to pulmonary veins, peribronchial vessels, or the vasa vasorum. Collaterals, bypassing completely occluded pulmonary arteries, were also observed to originate within plexiform lesions. In conclusion, synchrotron-based imaging revealed significant plexiform lesion heterogeneity, resulting in a novel classification. The four types likely have different effects on hemodynamics and disease progression.
|Journal||American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology|
|Publication status||Published - 2021 Jul 1|
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Medical Image Processing
- Plexiform lesion
- Pulmonary arterial hypertension