Objective. To evaluate the role of angiogenesis in the pathogenesis of pterygium by comparing the expression of von-Willebrand factor (vWF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in pterygium, and in normal superior bulbar conjunctiva. Methods. 23 human samples from pterygium and the superior bulbar conjunctiva were stained using rabbit anti-vWF and anti-VEGF antibodies. The density of vWF and VEGF positive vessels, VEGF staining intensity and the number of VEGF positive stromal, epithelial and vascular endothelial cells were evaluated. Results. Pterygium specimens had higher average vWF and VEGF positive microvascular counts per high power field (P = 0.0012), higher average VEGF staining intensity scores in epithelial, stromal and endothelial cells (p < 0.0001) and higher VEGF positive cell counts (P < 0.0001) than normal conjuctiva. Conclusions. Over-expression of VEGF in pterygium tissue, together with the abundance of vWF-stained new vessels, may support previous suggestions that angiogenesis may play a role in the formation of pterygium.
- Vascular endothelial growth factor