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Inflammatory diseases of the Aorta - Morphologic Patterns - I

On gross exam the arteries with Takayasu’s disease show marked thickening of the vessel wall because this entity is commonly a pan-arteritis affecting the adventitia, media and intima of the vessel. The inflammatory infiltrates and the extracellular matrix response to the inflammatory insult produce thickening of the adventitia and intima and to some extent thinning of the medial. For comparison a normal thoracic aorta is shown, where the intima and adventitia are thin and most of the wall thickness represents the media.
Microscopic examination ot Takayasu arteritis is shown here.

Giant cell aortitis, in comparison to Takayasu’s disease (above) shows a rather white intima with some “tree barking” alternating with yellowish areas (see microscopic image). On cross section the relative thickness of the intima media and adventitia is similar in the three layers. The aorta with giant cell arteritis is only slightly thicker than the normal aorta shown in the bottom part.

Microscopic examination of Giant Cell Aortitis is shown here.

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