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Plasma VEGF as a marker for the diagnosis and treatment of vasculitic neuropathy
  1. K Sakai,
  2. K Komai,
  3. D Yanase,
  4. M Yamada
  1. Department of Neurology and Neurobiology of Aging, Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa 920-8640, Japan
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr K Sakai

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Vasculitic neuropathy is treatable with immunotherapy. However, histological evidence of vasculitis is not always obtained from nerve and muscle biopsies.1 In particular, in cases of non-systemic vasculitic neuropathy showing no or minimum abnormal findings in serological tests, negative biopsy results cause considerable difficulty in the diagnosis.1

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent, multifactorial cytokine.2 VEGF is derived from endothelial cells and pericytes in response to hypoxia, and induces angiogenesis and microvascular hyperpermeability through its binding to VEGF receptors.2 Vascular involvement by vasculitic neuropathy results in hypoxia. It was reported that VEGF was overexpressed in vasculitic lesions in biopsied sural nerves, and that plasma VEGF levels were found to be raised in dermatomyositis with peripheral neuropathy.3 These findings suggest that VEGF levels may be increased in patients with vasculitic neuropathy. Although an increase in plasma or serum VEGF concentrations has been reported in some patients with systemic vasculitis,3 there have been no studies to evaluate plasma VEGF in a series of patients with vasculitic neuropathy. …

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  • Competing interests: none declared