Characterization of a porcine model for von Willebrand Disease type 1 and 3 regarding expression of angiogenic mediators in the monpregnant female reproductive tract
Von Willebrand disease (VWD), a blood coagulation disorder, is also known to cause angiodysplasia. Hitherto, no animal model has been found with angiodysplasia that can be studied in vivo. In addition, VWD patients tend to have a higher incidence of miscarriages for reasons unknown. Thus, we aimed to examine the influence of von Willebrand factor (VWF) on the female reproductive tract histology and the expression and distribution of angiogenic factors in a porcine model for VWD types 1 and 3. The disease-causing tandem duplication within the VWF gene occurred naturally in these pigs, making them a rare and valuable model. Reproductive organs of 6 animals (2 of each mutant genotype and 2 wildtype (WT) animals) were harvested. Genotype plus phenotype were confirmed. Several angiogenic factors were chosen for possible connections to VWF and analyzed alongside VWF by immunohistochemistry and quantitative gene expression studies. VWD type 3 animals showed angiodysplasia in the uterus and shifting of integrin αVβ₃ from the apical membrane of uterine epithelium to the cytoplasm accompanied by increased vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression. Varying staining patterns for angiopoietin (Ang)-2 were observed among the genotypes. As compared with WT, the ovaries of the VWD type 3 animals showed decreased gene expression of ANG2 and increased gene expression of TIE (tyrosine kinase with immunoglobulin and epidermal growth factor homology domains) 2, with some differences in the ANG/TIE-system among the mutant genotypes. In conclusion, severely reduced VWF seems to evoke angiodysplasia in the porcine uterus. Varying distribution and expression of angiogenic factors suggest that this large animal model is promising for investigation of influence of VWF on angiogenesis in larger groups.