BACKGROUND: It remains unclear whether vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a proarteriosclerotic or an antiarteriosclerotic factor. We recently reported that long-term inhibition of nitric oxide by administering Nomega-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) induces coronary vascular inflammation and arteriosclerosis. METHODS AND RESULTS: We used this animal model to investigate the role of VEGF in arteriosclerosis. We blocked VEGF activity in vivo by transfecting with plasmid DNA encoding the murine soluble FLT-1 (sFLT-1) gene into thigh muscle. Soluble FLT-1 can suppress VEGF activity both by sequestering VEGF and by functioning as a dominant-negative inhibitor of VEGF receptors. We observed vascular inflammation associated with increased VEGF expression within 3 days of L-NAME administration, which was prevented by pretreatment with ACE inhibitor, angiotensin II receptor antagonist, or neutralizing monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 antibody. The sFLT-1 gene transfer attenuated the early vascular inflammation and prevented late arteriosclerosis. The sFLT-1 gene transfer also inhibited increased expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and transforming growth factor-beta, indicating creation of a positive feedback loop to cause arteriosclerosis. CONCLUSIONS: VEGF is necessary in the development of arteriosclerosis by mediating monocyte recruitment and activation in this model.
|State||Published - Mar 5 2002|