Adenovirus-mediated VEGF121 gene transfer stimulates angiogenesis in normoperfused skeletal muscle and preserves tissue perfusion after induction of ischemia

Luis Henrique W. Gowdak, Lioubov Poliakova, Xiaotong Wang, Imre Kovesdi, Kenneth W. Fishbein, Antonella Zacheo, Roberta Palumbo, Stefania Straino, Costanza Emanueli, Massimiliano Marrocco-Trischitta, Edward G. Lakatta, Piero Anversa, Richard G.S. Spencer, Mark Talan, Maurizio C. Capogrossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background - Administration of angiogenic factors stimulates neovascularization in ischemic tissues. However, there is no evidence that angiogenesis can be induced in normoperfused skeletal muscles. We tested the hypothesis that adenovirus-mediated intramuscular (IM) gene transfer of the 121-amino-acid form of vascular endothelial growth factor (AdCMV.VEGF121) could stimulate neovascularization in nonischemic skeletal muscle and consequently attenuate the hemodynamic deficit secondary to surgically induced ischemia. Methods and Results - Rabbits and rats received IM injections of AdCMV.VEGF121, AdCMV.Null or saline in the thigh, 4 weeks (rabbits) or 2 weeks (rats) before femoral artery removal in the injected limb. In unoperated rats, at the site of injection of AdCMV.VEGF121, we found 96% and 29% increases in length density of arterioles and capillaries, respectively. Increased tissue perfusion (TP) to the ischemic limb in the AdCMV.VEGF121 group was documented, as early as day 1 after surgery, by improved blood flow to the ischemic gastrocnemius muscle measured by radioactive microspheres (AdCMV.VEGF121 = 5.69 ± 0.40, AdCMV.Null = 2.97 ± 0.50 and saline = 2.78 ± 0.43 mL · min-1 · 100 g-1 P < 0.001), more angiographically recognizable collateral vessels (angioscore) (AdCMV.VEGF121 = 50.58 ± 1.48, AdCMV.Null = 29.08 ± 4.22, saline = 11.83 ± 1.90, P < 0.0001) and improvement of the bioenergetic reserve of the gastrocnemius muscle as assessed by 31P NMR spectroscopy. Follow-up studies showed that superior TP to the ischemic limb in the AdCMV.VEGF121 group persisted until it was equalized by spontaneous collateral vessel development in. untreated animals. Conclusions - IM administration of AdCMV.VEGF121 stimulates angiogenesis in normoperfused skeletal muscles, and the newly formed vessels preserve TP after induction of ischemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-571
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiogenesis
  • Endothelium-derived factors
  • Genes
  • Ischemia
  • Peripheral vascular disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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