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Neurobiol Dis. 2007 Apr;26(1):243-52. Epub 2007 Jan 13.

Neonatal hypoxic preconditioning involves vascular endothelial growth factor.

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Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, AVENIR Research Group, IFRMP23, University of Rouen, Department of Neonatal Pediatrics and Intensive Care, Rouen University Hospital, France.


We studied hypoxic preconditioning (HxP) in the murine developing brain, focusing on the role for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Newborn mice were used as follows: (1) HxP (or normoxia) then intracerebral (i.c.) NMDA or AMPA-kainate agonist; (2) HxP then intraperitoneal (i.p.) anti-VEGFR2/Flk1 or anti-VEGFR1/Flt1 monoclonal blocking antibody (mAb) then i.c. NMDA/AMPA-kainate agonist; (3) i.p. VEGF then i.c. NMDA/AMPA-kainate agonist; and (4) in mutants lacking the hypoxia-responsive element (HRE) of the VEGF-A gene (VEGF( partial differential/ partial differential)) and their wild-type littermates (VEGF(+/+)), HxP followed by i.c. NMDA agonist. HxP reduced the size of NMDA-related cortical and AMPA-kainate-related cortical and white matter excitotoxic lesions. Anti-VEGFR2/Flk1 mAb prevented HxP-induced neuroprotection. VEGF produced dose-dependent reduction in cortical lesions. HxP did not prevent, but instead exacerbated, brain lesions in VEGF( partial differential/ partial differential) mutants. Thus, exogenous as well as endogenous VEGF reduces excitotoxic brain lesions in the developing mouse. The VEGF/VEGFR2/Flk1 pathway is involved in the neuroprotective response to HxP.

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