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J Neuroimmunol. 2002 Nov;132(1-2):93-8.

Vascular endothelial growth factor induces chemotaxis and proliferation of microglial cells.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Kiel, Olshausenstrasse 40, D-24098 Kiel, Germany.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an angiogenic peptide that is produced in the brain after ischemia, injury or in malignant gliomas. Since these pathological conditions are associated with the infiltration of microglial cells, we investigated the expression of VEGF receptors (VEGFR) and possible effects of VEGF on cultivated microglial cells. As shown by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunocytochemistry, rat microglial cells as well as the murine cell line BV-2 express the VEGFR-1, but not VEGFR-2. Murine VEGF induced 3H-thymidine incorporation into DNA of murine and rat microglial cells as well as chemotaxis in Boyden chamber assays. However, VEGF did not alter the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases and only slightly that of the kinase Akt. These results show that microglial cells are targets for VEGF which induces migration and proliferation of these immunocompetent cells in the brain.

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