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FASEB J. 2002 Jul;16(9):1041-9.

Adenoviral VEGF-C overexpression induces blood vessel enlargement, tortuosity, and leakiness but no sprouting angiogenesis in the skin or mucous membranes.

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Molecular/Cancer Biology Laboratory and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Biomedicum, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central Hospital, 00014 Helsinki, Finland.


Vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) and their receptors (VEGFRs) are important regulators of blood and lymphatic vessel growth and vascular permeability. The VEGF-C/VEGFR-3 signaling pathway is crucial for lymphangiogenesis, and heterozygous inactivating missense mutations of the VEGFR-3 gene are associated with hereditary lymphedema. However, VEGF-C can have potent effects on blood vessels because its receptor VEGFR-3 is expressed in certain blood vessels and because the fully processed form of VEGF-C also binds to the VEGFR-2 of blood vessels. To characterize the in vivo effects of VEGF-C on blood and lymphatic vessels, we have overexpressed VEGF-C via adenovirus- and adeno-associated virus-mediated transfection in the skin and respiratory tract of athymic nude mice. This resulted in dose-dependent enlargement and tortuosity of veins, which, along with the collecting lymphatic vessels were found to express VEGFR-2. Expression of angiopoietin 1 blocked the increased leakiness of the blood vessels induced by VEGF-C whereas vessel enlargement and lymphangiogenesis were not affected. However, angiogenic sprouting of new blood vessels was not observed in response to AdVEGF-C or AAV-VEGF-C. These results show that virally produced VEGF-C induces blood vessel changes, including vascular leak, but its angiogenic potency is much reduced compared with VEGF in normal skin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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