Author(s): Vacca A
The erythrocyte water channel aquaporin 1 (AQP1) is expressed in multiple absorptive and secretory epithelia including the capillary endothelia. Immunoblot analysis showed that bone marrow biopsies of patients with active multiple myeloma (MM) display significantly higher levels of AQP1 than those from patients with non-active MM, whose values are higher, but to a lesser extent, than those of patients with monoclonal gammopathies of undetermined significance (MGUS). Values of MGUS overlapped those of patients with anaemia as a result of iron or vitamin B12 deficiencies (called 'benign anaemias'). Immunohistochemistry and computerized image analysis of AQP1 highlighted bone marrow microvessels whose area per microscopic field was significantly greater in patients with active MM, and always larger than and closely correlated with the microvessel area when assessed with factor VIII-related antigen/von Willebrand's factor (FVIII-VWF). The intensity of AQP1 expression by microvessels evaluated using image analysis was significantly greater in active than non-active MM and in the latter over MGUS or benign anaemias. It is suggested that, among plasma cell tumours, AQP1 expression is preferentially associated with microvessels of MM and that the highest degree of expression occurs in active MM in step with enhanced angiogenesis, in which AQP1 recognizes more immature neovessels than FVIII-VWF. It may, perhaps, favour angiogenesis in a positive loop and, hence, MM progression, and thus be applied for therapeutic vascular targeting.