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Circulation. 2005 May 31;111(21):2828-36. Epub 2005 May 23.

Placental growth factor promotes atherosclerotic intimal thickening and macrophage accumulation.

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BHF Laboratories, Department of Medicine, University College London, 5 University St, London WC1E 6JJ, United Kingdom.



Placental growth factor (PlGF) has been implicated in the pathophysiological angiogenesis and monocyte recruitment that underlie chronic inflammatory disease, but its role in atherosclerosis has not been examined. We investigated the effects of exogenous PlGF, delivered by adenoviral gene transfer, on atherogenic intimal thickening and macrophage accumulation induced by collar placement around the rabbit carotid artery and examined the effects of PlGF deficiency on atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE(-/-)) mice.


Periadventitial transfer of PlGF2-encoding adenoviruses significantly increased intimal thickening, macrophage accumulation, endothelial vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 expression, and adventitial neovascularization in the collared arteries of hypercholesterolemic rabbits and increased the intima-to-media ratio in rabbits fed a normal diet. Neointimal macrophages were associated with increased expression of the PlGF receptor Flt-1. The size and macrophage content of early atherosclerotic lesions were reduced in mice deficient in both apoE and PlGF compared with apoE-deficient mice.


Local adenoviral PlGF2 delivery promotes atherogenic neointima formation in hypercholesterolemic rabbits, and PlGF is required for macrophage infiltration in early atherosclerotic lesions in apoE(-/-) mice. These findings support a novel role for PlGF in the pathogenesis of atherosclerotic disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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