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Vascular endothelial growth factor overexpression in ischemic skeletal muscle enhances myoglobin expression in vivo

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Author: Weel, V. van · Deckers, M.M.L. · Grimbergen, J.M. · Leuven, K.J.M. van · Lardenoye, J.W.H.P. · Schlingemann, R.O. · Nieuw Amerongen, G.P. van · Bockel, J.H. van · Hinsbergh, V.W.M. van · Quax, P.H.A.
Institution: Gaubius Instituut TNO
Source:Circulation Research, 1, 95, 58-66
Identifier: 237903
doi: doi10.1161/01.RES.0000133247.69803.c3
Keywords: Biology · Biomedical Research · Angiogenesis · Ischemia · Myoglobin · Peripheral vascular disease · Vascular endothelial growth factor · adenovirus vector · beta galactosidase · messenger RNA · myoglobin · protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor · semaxanib · vasculotropin · vasculotropin A · angina pectoris · angiography · animal cell · animal experiment · animal model · capillary density · controlled study · drug inhibition · gastrocnemius muscle · in vivo study · mouse · muscle function · muscle ischemia · myotube · nonhuman · pain · protein expression · RNA analysis · skeletal muscle · vascularization · Adenoviridae · Aged · Amputation · Animals · Capillaries · Female · Gene Expression · Gene Therapy · Genetic Vectors · Humans · Ischemia · Male · Mice · Middle Aged · Muscle Fibers · Muscle, Skeletal · Myoglobin · Neovascularization, Physiologic · RNA, Messenger · Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A


Therapeutic angiogenesis using vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is considered a promising new therapy for patients with arterial obstructive disease. Clinical improvements observed consist of improved muscle function and regression of rest pain or angina. However, direct evidence for improved vascularization, as evaluated by angiography, is weak. In this study, we report an angiogenesis-independent effect of VEGF on ischemic skeletal muscle, ie, upregulation of myoglobin after VEGF treatment. Mice received intramuscular injection with adenoviral VEGF-A or either adenoviral LacZ or PBS as control, followed by surgical induction of acute hindlimb ischemia at day 3. At day 6, capillary density was increased in calf muscle of Ad. VEGF-treated versus control mice (P<0.01). However, angiographic score of collateral arteries was unchanged between Ad. VEGF-treated and control mice. More interestingly, an increase in myoglobin was observed in Ad. VEGF-treated mice. Active myoglobin was 1.5-fold increased in calf muscle of Ad. VEGF-treated mice (P≤0.01). In addition, the number of myoglobin-stained myofibers was 2.6-fold increased in Ad. VEGF-treated mice (P=0.001). Furthermore, in ischemic muscle of 15 limb amputation patients, VEGF and myoglobin were coexpressed. Finally, in cultured C2C12 myotubes treated with rhVEGF, myoglobin mRNA was 2.8-fold raised as compared with PBS-treated cells (P=0.02). This effect could be blocked with the VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor SU5416. In conclusion, we show that VEGF upregulates myoglobin in ischemic muscle both in vitro and in vivo. Increased myoglobin expression in VEGF-treated muscle implies an improved muscle oxygenation, which may, at least partly, explain observed clinical improvements in VEGF-treated patients, in the absence of improved vascularization. Chemicals / CAS: semaxanib, 186610-95-7; vasculotropin A, 489395-96-2; vasculotropin, 127464-60-2; Myoglobin; RNA, Messenger; Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A