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Arch Neurol. 2001 May;58(5):761-8.

Improvement in chronic ischemic neuropathy after intramuscular phVEGF165 gene transfer in patients with critical limb ischemia.

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St Elizabeth's Medical Center, 736 Cambridge St, Boston, MA 02135, USA.



To investigate the effects of vascular endothelial growth factor gene therapy on ischemic neuropathy in patients with critical limb ischemia.


An open-label, dose-escalating trial. Patients with angiographically proven critical leg ischemia received injections of phVEGF(165) human plasmid in the muscles of the ischemic limb. Testing before treatment and at 3 and 6 months included (1) symptom severity score, (2) clinical examination score, and (3) electrophysiologic studies. Clinical and electrophysiologic examiners were masked to each other's findings.


A tertiary care referral hospital and a major teaching affiliate of Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Mass.


Of 29 consecutive patients enrolled, 17 (19 limbs) completed the 6 months of study. Six patients had diabetes. Compared with baseline studies, treated patients had significant clinical improvements in the symptom score (P<.01), sensory examination score (P<.01), total examination score (P =.01), peroneal motor amplitude (P =.03), and quantitative vibration threshold (P =.04). Improvement in the vascular ankle-brachial index in treated legs (P<.01) corresponded to improvement in neuropathy in the same limb. Neurologic improvement was seen in 4 of 6 patients with diabetes who completed the study. No clinical, electrophysiologic, or vascular improvements were observed in untreated legs.


Ischemic neuropathy might be a reversible condition, and therapeutic angiogenesis might be an effective treatment. The presence of diabetes does not preclude a response to this therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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