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Expression of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and its Receptors (Flt-1 and Flk-1) following Permanent and Transient Occlusion of the Middle Cerebral Artery in the Rat

Fredrik Lennmyr MD, Khaled Ahmad Ata MD, Keiko Funa MD, PhD, Yngve Olsson MD, PhD, Andreas Terént MD, PhD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00005072-199809000-00009 874-882 First published online: 1 September 1998


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a known endothelial mitogen and a potent enhancer of vascular permeability although its role in focal cerebral ischemia is still not completely understood. The present report describes the immunohistochemical distribution of VEGF and its 2 receptors, Flt-1 and Flk-1 at day 1 and 3 following permanent and transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in the rat. A bilateral increase in VEGF immunoreactivity, particularly in neurons and blood vessels, was seen in both the experimental designs by day 1. By day 3, the immunoreactivity was restricted chiefly to the lesion side, where reaction was most prominent in the border zones of the infarcts. Immunoreaction to VEGF was more pronounced in cases of permanent MCAO than in transient MCAO. Flt-1 reaction was increased in neurons, glial and endothelial cells after both transient and permanent MCAO. Immunoreactivity to Flk-1 was prominent in glial cells and was present to some extent in endothelial cells. These findings indicate an early upregulation of VEGF and its receptors after permanent as well as transient focal cerebral ischemia in the rat.

Key Words
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO)
  • Rat
  • Receptor
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)