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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Feb 1;108(5):2064-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1018925108. Epub 2011 Jan 18.

Coexpression of VEGF and angiopoietin-1 promotes angiogenesis and cardiomyocyte proliferation reduces apoptosis in porcine myocardial infarction (MI) heart.

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Department of Cardiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210029, People's Republic of China.


VEGF and angiopoietin-1 (Ang1) are two major angiogenic factors being investigated for the treatment of myocardial infarction (MI). Targeting VEGF and Ang1 expression in the ischemic myocardium can increase their local therapeutic effects and reduce possible adverse effects. Adeno-associated viral vectors (AAVs) expressing cardiac-specific and hypoxia-inducible VEGF [AAV-myosin light chain-2v (MLC)VEGF] and Ang1 (AAV-MLCAng1) were coinjected (VEGF/Ang1 group) into six different sites of the porcine myocardium at the peri-infarct zone immediately after ligating the left descending coronary artery. An identical dose of AAV-Cytomegalovirus (CMV)LacZ or saline was injected into control animals. AAV genomes were detected in the liver in addition to the heart. RT-PCR, Western blotting, and ELISA analyses showed that VEGF and Ang1 were predominantly expressed in the myocardium in the infarct core and border of the infarct heart. Gated single-photon emission computed tomography analyses showed that the VEGF/Ang1 group had better cardiac function and myocardial perfusion at 8 wk than at 2 wk after vector injection. Compared with the saline and LacZ controls, the VEGF/Ang1 group expressed higher phosphorylated Akt and Bcl-xL, less Caspase-3 and Bad, and had higher vascular density, more proliferating cardiomyocytes, and less apoptotic cells in the infarct and peri-infarct zones. Thus, cardiac-specific and hypoxia-induced coexpression of VEGF and Ang1 improves the perfusion and function of porcine MI heart through the induction of angiogenesis and cardiomyocyte proliferation, activation of prosurvival pathways, and reduction of cell apoptosis.

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