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Expression of Basic Fibroblast Growth Factor mRNA and Protein in the Human Brain following Ischaemic Stroke

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Our previous work has demonstrated that angiogenesis occurs in the damaged brain tissue of patients surviving acute ischaemic stroke and increased microvessel density in the penumbra is associated with longer patient survival. The brain is one of the richest sources of FGF-2 and several studies have noted its angiogenic and neuroprotective effects in the nervous system. These findings led us to investigate the expression and localisation of both FGF-2 mRNA and protein in brain tissue collected within 12 h of death from 10 patients who survived for between 24 h and 43 days after acute stroke caused by thrombosis or embolus. Western blot analysis demonstrated increased FGF-2 protein expression in both grey and white matter in the infarcted core and the penumbra region compared to the normal contralateral hemisphere of all 10 patients studied. Using indirect immunoperoxidase staining of paraffin embedded sections, we observed the presence of FGF-2 in neurones, astrocytes, macrophages and endothelial cells. In situ hybridisation was used to localise and quantify mRNA expression in ischaemic brain tissue of the same 10 patients. The expression of FGF-2 in the penumbra of all patients was significantly raised compared with infarcted tissue and normal-looking contralateral hemisphere. In addition, serum FGF-2 was significantly increased between 1 and 14 days (P < 0.001) in many patients with both ischaemic stroke (n = 28) and intra-cerebral haemorrhage (n = 16) compared with age-matched control subjects undergoing routine medical examinations (n = 20). We suggest that up-regulation of FGF-2 is one of the mechanisms that leads to angiogenesis and neuro-protection in the penumbra region after acute stroke in man.

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brain derived neurotrophic factor


computerised tomography


excitatory  amino acid


endothelial cell


enzyme-linked immunoabsorbant assay


basic fibroblast growth factor


ischaemic stroke


intra-cerebral haemorrhagic stroke




middle cerebral artery occlusion


nerve growth factor


phenylmethylsulphonyl fluoride


statistical package for the social sciences


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Correspondence to Shant Kumar.

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Issa, R., AlQteishat, A., Mitsios, N. et al. Expression of Basic Fibroblast Growth Factor mRNA and Protein in the Human Brain following Ischaemic Stroke. Angiogenesis 8, 53–62 (2005).

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