Age-Related Changes in Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Dependency and Angiopoietin-1-Induced Plasticity of Adult Blood Vessels

Fabienne Baffert, Gavin Thurston, Michael Rochon-Duck, Tom Le, Rolf Brekken, Donald M. McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and angiopoietin-1 (Ang1) are essential for vascular development, but this dependency has been assumed not to persist into adult life. In this study, we report that after 10 days of systemic treatment of 4-, 8-, and 16-week-old mice with VEGF-Trap, an inhibitor of VEGF, the number of capillaries in the tracheal mucosa was reduced by 39%, 28%, and 14%, respectively. The magnitude of the reduction decreased with age (r2=0.6, P<0.001), but was still significant at 16 weeks. A corresponding age-related decrease in vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) immunoreactivity suggests that diminished VEGFR-2 expression may contribute to resistance to VEGF signaling inhibition. VEGF-Trap further reduced VEGFR-2 expression in tracheal capillaries. By comparison, systemic treatment with adenovirus encoding Ang1 led to a significant enlargement of tracheal venules with little age effect (64%, 56%, and 49% increase in diameter at 10 days). When Ang1 was given in combination with VEGF-Trap, tracheal vessels presented the typical response to each factor, showing that the Angl effect was not VEGF-mediated, yet Ang1 seems to have a protective effect, as judged by prevention of VEGF-Trap-induced reduction in tracheal capillaries in the oldest group. Together, these findings indicate that VEGF and Ang1 participate in blood vessel survival and plasticity in adult life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)984-992
Number of pages9
JournalCirculation research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 16 2004


  • Angiogenesis
  • Angiopoietin-1
  • Microvasculature
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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