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Circ Res. 2007 Oct 26;101(9):948-56. Epub 2007 Sep 6.

Impaired angiogenesis after hindlimb ischemia in type 2 diabetes mellitus: differential regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 and soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Duke University and Durham VA Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Deficient angiogenesis after ischemia may contribute to worse outcomes of peripheral arterial disease in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM). Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptors promote angiogenesis. We hypothesized that in peripheral arterial disease, maladaptive changes in VEGF ligand/receptor expression could account for impaired angiogenesis in DM. Skeletal muscle from diet-induced, type 2 diabetic (DM) and age-matched normal chow (NC)-fed mice was collected at baseline and 3 and 10 days after hindlimb ischemia and analyzed for expression of VEGF (n=10 per group), full-length VEGF receptor (VEGFR)-1, soluble VEGFR-1, and markers of downstream VEGF signaling (n=20 per group) using ELISA, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, and Western blots. In the absence of ischemia, DM mice had increased VEGF (NC versus DM: 26.6+/-2.6 versus 53.5+/-8.8 pg/mg protein; P<0.05), decreased soluble and membrane-bound VEGFR-1 (NC versus DM: 1.44+/-0.30 versus 0.85+/-0.08 and 1.03+/-0.10 versus 0.72+/-0.10, respectively; P<0.05), decreased phospho-AKT/AKT and phospho-endothelial NO synthase/endothelial NO synthase (NC versus DM: 0.76+/-0.2 versus 0.38+/-0.1 and 0.36+/-0.06 versus 0.25+/-0.04, respectively; P<0.05), and no change in VEGFR-2. After ischemia, both DM and NC had comparable increases in VEGF-A. VEGFR-1 and soluble VEGFR-1 expression increased in both groups, but the fold increase was significantly greater in DM. These data demonstrate that soluble VEGFR-1, an angiogenesis inhibitor, is regulated in skeletal muscle by type 2 DM and ischemia. In the absence of ischemia, despite reductions in both soluble VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-1, VEGF ligand signaling is lower in DM compared with controls. After ischemia, maladaptive upregulation of these receptors further reduces the capacity of VEGF to induce an angiogenic response, which may provide a novel target for therapy.

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