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Eur J Neurosci. 2000 Oct;12(10):3675-86.

Induction of VEGF and VEGF receptors in the spinal cord after mechanical spinal injury and prostaglandin administration.

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Department of Neuroscience, Nobels väg 12a, Karolinska Institutet, S-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an angiogenetic factor that promotes endothelial cell proliferation during development and after injury to various types of tissue, including the central nervous system (CNS). Using immunohistochemical and in situ hybridization methods we have here demonstrated that VEGF and its receptors Flk-1, Flt-1 and Neuropilin-1 mRNAs and proteins are induced after incisions in the rat spinal cord. The inducible enzyme for prostaglandin synthesis cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is known to be upregulated after spinal injury, cerebral ischemia and to stimulate angiogenesis. To test the hypothesis that prostaglandins may be involved in the VEGF response after lesion we investigated whether intraspinal microinjections of prostaglandin F2alpha (PGF2alpha) alters VEGF expression in the spinal cord. Such treatment was followed by a strong upregulation of VEGF mRNA and protein in the injection area. Finally, by use of an in vitro model with cell cultures of meningeal fibroblast and astrocyte origin, resembling the lesion area cellular content after spinal cord injury but devoid of inflammatory cells, we showed that VEGF is expressed in this in vitro model cell system after treatment with PGF2alpha and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). These data suggest that cells within a lesion area in the spinal cord are capable of expressing VEGF and its receptors in response to mechanical injury and that prostaglandins may induce VEGF expression in such cells, even in the absence of inflammatory cells.

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