Object. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a secreted mitogen associated with angiogenesis. The conceptual basis for therapeutic angiogenesis after plasmid human VEGF gene (phVEGF) transfer has been established in patients presenting with limb ischemia and myocardial infarction. The authors hypothesized that overexpression of VEGF using a gene transfer method combined with indirect vasoreconstruction might induce effective brain angiogenesis in chronic cerebral hypoperfusion, leading to prevention of ischemic attacks.
Methods. A chronic cerebral hypoperfusion model induced by permanent ligation of both common carotid arteries in rats was used in this investigation. Seven days after induction of cerebral hypoperfusion, encephalomyosynangiosis (EMS) and phVEGF administration in the temporal muscle were performed. Fourteen days after treatment, the VEGF gene therapy group displayed numbers and areas of capillary vessels in temporal muscles that were 2.2 and 2.5 times greater, respectively, in comparison with the control group. In the brain, the number and area of capillary vessels in the group treated with the VEGF gene were 1.5 and 1.8 times greater, respectively, relative to the control group.
Conclusions. In rat models of chronic cerebral hypoperfusion, administration of phVEGF combined with indirect vasoreconstructive surgery significantly increased capillary density in the brain. The authors' results indicate that administration of phVEGF may be an effective therapy in patients with chronic cerebral hypoperfusion, such as those with moyamoya disease.