The pericardium in vibroacoustic disease ii-cellular death pathways

Nuno A A Castelo Branco, José I. Fragata, Maria Cristina Marques, Emanuel Monteiro, Mariana Alves-Pereira

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction. The anatomical study of the pericardium in vibroacoustic disease (VAD) patients was prompted by the echo-imaging results obtained initially in aircraft technicians. Thickened pericardia, unrelated to pericarditis and with no concurrent dysfunction of the cardiac cycle was observed in 100% of the low frequency noise-exposed individuals. With the informed consent of VAD patients, submitted to cardiac surgery for other reasons, pericardial fragments were removed for study in order to determine the nature of this abnormal thickening. During the electron microscopy study, the cause of VAD patients' abnormal pericardial thickening was determined, and was the object of an independent study. Simultaneously, a large amount of cellular debris was identified in all tissue layers of this organ. This report focuses on the nature of the cellular death seen in VAD patients' pericardial fragments. Methods. Pericardial fragments were studied with light and electron microscopy, with emphasis to the characteristics of cellular death. Results. Images of apoptotic (programmed) death were seen in the mesothelial layer, and non-apoptotic (mechanical) cell death was observed in all other layers. Many images captured burst cell membranes with cellular organelles spewing out into the surrounding area. These images were frequently seen in the vicinity of elastic fibers. In the mesothelial layer (inner layer in contact with the pericardial Sac) herniations of cells were protruding into the Sac space as well as burst cells spewing cellular debris into the pericardial Sac. Often, the entire cell was also seen in an extrusion process into the pericardial Sac. No inflammatory cellularity was observed. Abnormally large amounts of collagen in well-organized structures were confirmed. Discussion. The lack of an inflammatory process by cellularity was re-confirmed. The enormous amount of cellular debris may partially explain the appearance of auto-immune disease in VAD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication12th International Congress on Sound and Vibration 2005, ICSV 2005
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005
Event12th International Congress on Sound and Vibration 2005, ICSV 2005 - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 11 Jul 200514 Jul 2005


Conference12th International Congress on Sound and Vibration 2005, ICSV 2005


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