, Volume 145, Issue 1, pp 49-53

Effects of intraventricular infusion of vascular endothelial growth factor on cerebral blood flow, edema, and infarct volume

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Background: Therapeutic cerebral angiogenesis, utilizing angiogenic factors to enhance collateral vessel formation within the central nervous system, is a potential method for cerebral revascularization. A prior dose-response study determined that intracerebroventricular infusion of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) increases vascular density with minimal associated brain edema at a concentration of 5 μg/ml. The purpose of this study was to assess effects of intracerebroventricular infusion of VEGF (5 μg/ml) on cerebral blood flow, infarct volume, and brain edema after ischemia.

Methods: Recombinant human VEGF165 was infused into the right lateral ventricle of rats with an osmotic minipump at a rate of 1 μl/hr for 7 days. Control animals received vehicle only. Ischemia was produced by transient (2 hours) middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). After MCAO, cerebral blood flow was determined with the indicator fractionation technique: infarct volume was assessed with 2,3,5-triphenlytetrazolium chloride staining, and brain edema was determined by measuring brain water content.

Findings: Cerebral blood flow was not significantly different in animals treated with VEGF compared to controls. There was a significant reduction in total infarct volume after temporary MCAO in VEGF-treated animals compared to controls (163±37 mm3 vs. 309±54 mm3, P<0.05). Brain water content after transient MCAO was also significantly reduced in VEGF-treated animals compared to controls (80.9±0.7% vs. 83.3±0.6%, P<0.05).

Interpretation: Intracerebroventricular infusion of VEGF165 (5 μg/ml) decreases infarct volume and brain edema after temporary MCAO without a significant increase in cerebral blood flow. These results indicate that VEGF may have a direct neuroprotective effect in cerebral ischemia.

Published online January 14, 2003
ID="*"  This work was funded by a Pharmacia Upjohn Cerebrovascular Fellowship Award to Dr. Harrigan and an internal grant from the Department of Surgery, University of Michigan Health System.
 Correspondence: M. R. Harrigan, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, University of Michigan Health System, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Room 2128 Taubman Center, Campus Box 0338, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0338.