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Open Access Research article

The role of vascular endothelial growth factor and matrix metalloproteinases in canine lymphoma: in vivo and in vitro study

Arianna Aricò1, Mery Giantin1, Maria Elena Gelain1, Fulvio Riondato2, Stefano Comazzi3, Barbara C Rütgen4, Sabine E Essler5, Mauro Dacasto1, Massimo Castagnaro1 and Luca Aresu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Comparative Biomedicine and Food Science, University of Padova, Viale dell'Università 16, Agripolis Legnaro, PD, 35020, Italy

2 Department of Animal Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Torino, Via Leonardo da Vinci 44, Grugliasco, TO, 10095, Italy

3 Department of Animal Pathology, Public Health and Veterinary Hygiene, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Milano, Via Celoria 10, Milan, 20133, Italy

4 Clinical Pathology, Department of Pathobiology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, Vienna, 1210, Austria

5 Institute of Immunology, Department of Pathobiology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, Vienna, 1210, Austria

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BMC Veterinary Research 2013, 9:94  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-94

Published: 3 May 2013



Canine lymphoma represents the most frequent haematopoietic cancer and it shares some similarities with human non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) play a coordinated role during invasion and proliferation of malignant cells; however, little is known about their role in canine haematologic malignancies. The aim of this study was to investigate the mRNA and protein expression of VEGF and the most relevant MMPs in canine lymphoma. Lymph node aspirates from 26 B-cell and 21 T-cell lymphomas were collected. The protein expression levels of MMP-9, MMP-2 and VEGF-A were evaluated by immunocytochemistry, and the mRNA levels of MMP-2, MMP-9, MT1-MMP, TIMP-1, TIMP-2, RECK, VEGF-A and VEGF-164 were measured using quantitative RT-PCR.


MT1-MMP, TIMP-1 and RECK mRNA levels were significantly higher in T-cell lymphomas than in B-cell lymphomas. Higher mRNA and protein levels of MMP-9 and VEGF-A were observed in T-cell lymphomas than in B-cell lymphomas and healthy control lymph nodes. A positive correlation was found between MMP-9 and VEGF-A in T-cell lymphomas. Moreover, MMP-9, MT1-MMP, TIMP-1 and VEGF-A were expressed at the highest levels in high-grade T-cell lymphomas.


This study provides new information on the expression of different MMPs and VEGF in canine lymphoma, suggesting a possible correlation between different MMPs and VEGF, immunophenotype and prognosis.

Dog; Phenotype; Lymphoma; MMPs; TIMPs; VEGF