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J Surg Res. 2006 Oct;135(2):218-25. Epub 2006 Aug 14.

Exogenous pro-angiogenic stimuli cannot prevent physiologic vessel regression.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, Loyola University Medical Center, Burn and Shock Trauma Institute, Maywood, Illinois, USA.



In healing wounds, rising levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) induce a period of robust angiogenesis. The levels of pro-angiogenic factors in the wound begin to decline just before a period of vascular regression, suggesting that these mediators are necessary to sustain vessel density. The purpose of this study was to determine if the maintenance of pro-angiogenic stimuli in the wound would prevent physiological vessel regression.


A standard subcutaneous sponge wound model was modified by the addition of a mini-osmotic pump, allowing manipulation of the wound milieu by the addition of exogenous growth factors. After initial characterization of this model, exogenous VEGF (10 microg/mL), FGF (10 microg/mL), PDGF (10 microg/mL), or VEGF (10 microg/mL) plus FGF (10 microg/mL) were delivered to wounds and blood vessel density analyzed by immunohistochemistry.


VEGF administration resulted in a transient increase in wound vessel density (P < 0.05). None of the pro-angiogenic growth factors (VEGF, FGF, PDGF, VEGF/FGF) were able to prevent vascular regression (P = NS).


These findings suggest that the anti-angiogenic signals that mediate physiological vascular regression in wounds are strongly dominant over pro-angiogenic stimuli during the later phases of wound healing. Clinical manipulation of anti-angiogenic signals in addition to the currently used pro-angiogenic targets may be needed to achieve therapeutic modulation of blood vessel density.

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