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J Surg Res. 1996 Jun;63(1):77-82.

VEGF improves myocardial blood flow but produces EDRF-mediated hypotension in porcine hearts.

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Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02135, USA.


Several recent studies have demonstrated the potential for improving myocardial perfusion by the continuous administration of angiogenic growth factors. Studies in our laboratory have shown that a single intraarterial or intravenous bolus of the endothelial cell specific mitogen vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) can significantly improve perfusion in a rabbit ischemic limb model. To test the efficacy of this therapeutic approach in chronic myocardial ischemia, 18 Yorkshire pigs underwent a left thoracotomy followed by placement of an ameroid constrictor around the proximal circumflex coronary artery. Gradual occlusion of the artery (26 +/- 4 days) was accompanied by identifiable hypokinesis of the posterolateral wall of the left ventricle (2D echo). Thirty days postoperatively, rhVEGF(165) (2 mg; n = 8) or saline (n = 10) was administered directly into the left coronary ostium. Postadenosine myocardial perfusion studies using colored microspheres 30 days later demonstrated superior blood flow in the ischemic zone of the VEGF-treated hearts (ischemic/normal ratio 1.09 vs 0.97, P < 0.05) compared with those receiving saline injection. Four of eight VEGF-treated animals succumbed, however, to severe hypotension following VEGF administration. Therefore 500 micrograms of VEGF were administered intracoronary to five normal pigs. A significant drop in mean arterial pressure (-44.4 +/- 3.2%, P < 0.05 vs baseline) and peripheral resistance (-13.2 +/- 4.5%, P < 0.05 vs baseline) was accompanied by increased heart rate. IV administration of N(omega)-nitro-L-arginine (L-NNA), an EDRF inhibitor, restored blood pressure to baseline. We conclude that a single intracoronary bolus of VEGF is capable of significantly augmenting flow to collateral-dependent ischemic myocardium. The associated hypotension appears to be EDRF-mediated. Further studies are needed to define the best dose and route of administration of VEGF for the treatment of coronary insufficiency.

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