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Microvasc Res. 1999 Sep;58(2):128-36.

Vascular endothelial growth factor-induced migration of vascular smooth muscle cells in vitro.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Angiogenesis is a complex process that includes recruitment and proliferation of mural cells-smooth muscle cells (SMC) and pericytes. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been shown to play an important role in angiogenesis and is an endothelial cell chemoattractant. In addition, certain VEGF isoforms have been implicated in the normal formation of smooth muscle cell-surrounded arteries. Because VEGF's role as a mural cell chemoattractant had not been explored, we examined the ability of VEGF to influence vascular SMC migration in vitro. A Boyden chamber migration assay demonstrated that VEGF (0-100 ng/ml) caused a dose-dependent migration of SMC. VEGF did not cause proliferation of SMC. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis demonstrated the presence of both KDR and flt mRNA, two known VEGF receptors, in SMC cultures. Western blot analysis of SMC lysates confirmed these data, revealing bands migrating at approximately 200 kDa and slightly below 200 kDa consistent with KDR and flt. These observations demonstrate that VEGF receptors are present on SMC, and that VEGF can act as an SMC chemoattractant.

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