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Circulation. 1998 Feb 24;97(7):645-50.

Induction of neoangiogenesis in ischemic myocardium by human growth factors: first clinical results of a new treatment of coronary heart disease.

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Klinik für Thorax-, Herz und Gefässchirurgie, Klinikum Fulda, Germany.



The present article is a report of our animal experiments and also of the first clinical results of a new treatment for coronary heart disease using the human growth factor FGF-I (basic fibroblast growth factor) to induce neoangiogenesis in the ischemic myocardium.


FGF-I was obtained from strains of Escherichia coli by genetic engineering, then isolated and highly purified. Several series of animal experiments demonstrated the apathogenic action and neoangiogenic potency of this factor. After successful conclusion of the animal experiments, it was used clinically for the first time. FGF-I (0.01 mg/kg body weight) was injected close to the vessels after the completion of internal mammary artery (IMA)/left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) anastomosis in 20 patients with three-vessel coronary disease. All the patients had additional peripheral stenoses of the LAD or one of its diagonal branches. Twelve weeks later, the IMA bypasses were selectively imaged by intra-arterial digital subtraction angiography and quantitatively evaluated. In all the animal experiments, the development of new vessels in the ischemic myocardium could be demonstrated angiographically. The formation of capillaries could also be demonstrated in humans and was found in all cases around the site of injection. A capillary network sprouting from the proximal part of the coronary artery could be shown to have bypassed the stenoses and rejoined the distal parts of the vessel.


We believe that the use of FGF-I for myocardial revascularization is in principle a new concept and that it may be particularly suitable for patients with additional peripheral stenoses that cannot be revascularized surgically.

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