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Vasc Med. 2012 Apr;17(2):94-100. doi: 10.1177/1358863X11436334. Epub 2012 Mar 8.

Alteration in angiogenic and anti-angiogenic forms of vascular endothelial growth factor-A in skeletal muscle of patients with intermittent claudication following exercise training.

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Division of Cardiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.


The aims of this study were twofold: (1) to identify whether peripheral artery disease (PAD) patients had increased muscle concentration of angiogenic VEGF-A, anti-angiogenic VEGF₁₆₅b or VEGF receptor 1 (VEGF-R1) when compared with control subjects, and (2) to evaluate whether exercise training in PAD patients was associated with changes in muscle concentration of VEGF-A, VEGF₁₆₅b or VEGF-R1. At baseline, 22 PAD and 30 control subjects underwent gastrocnemius muscle biopsy. Twelve PAD patients were treated with supervised exercise training (SET) and underwent muscle biopsy after 3 weeks and 12 weeks of training and had sufficient tissue to measure VEGF-A, VEGF₁₆₅b and VEGF-R1 concentrations in skeletal muscle lysates by ELISA. Muscle concentrations of VEGF-A and VEGF₁₆₅b were similar in PAD patients versus controls at baseline. At both time points after the start of SET, VEGF-A levels decreased and there was a trend towards increased VEGF₁₆₅b concentrations. At baseline, VEGF-R1 concentrations were lower in PAD patients when compared with controls but did not change after SET. Skeletal muscle concentrations of VEGF-A are not different in PAD patients when compared with controls at baseline. SET is associated with a significant reduction in VEGF-A levels and a trend towards increased VEGF₁₆₅b levels. These somewhat unexpected findings suggest that further investigation into the mechanism of vascular responses to exercise training in PAD patients is warranted.

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