Imbalance between platelet vascular endothelial growth factor and platelet-derived growth factor in pulmonary hypertension. Effect of prostacyclin therapy

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2000 Oct;162(4 Pt 1):1493-9. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.162.4.2003124.


Focal vascular injury and impaired endothelial function are features of pulmonary hypertension (PH) that lead to enhanced platelet endothelial cell interactions. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is contained in platelets and released at sites of vascular injury to promote endothelial repair and wound healing in combination with platelet-derived nonspecific mitogens such as platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). The overall balance between platelet VEGF and PDGF was investigated in 21 patients with primary PH, 8 with secondary PH, and 27 with chronic hypoxemic lung disease (CHLD), as well as in 29 control subjects. Platelet VEGF content was increased in patients with primary and secondary PH as compared with control subjects (518 +/- 89, 675 +/- 156, and 166 +/- 29 fg/10(5) platelets, respectively; p < 0.01), whereas platelet PDGF content was similar in the three groups (31 +/- 2, 36 +/- 4, and 33 +/- 3 pg/10(5) platelets, respectively; NS). Patients treated with a continuous prostacyclin infusion had a higher platelet VEGF but a similar platelet PDGF content as compared with untreated patients. Moderate increases in platelet VEGF and PDGF contents were observed in the CHLD patients. We conclude that patients with primary or secondary PH have an increase in platelet VEGF content, but not in platelet PDGF content, and that their platelet VEGF content increases further in response to prostacyclin infusion. We suggest that imbalance between platelet VEGF and PDGF is beneficial to patients with PH.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Platelets / drug effects*
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / blood*
  • Epoprostenol / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / blood
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Lung Diseases / blood
  • Lung Diseases / drug therapy
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / blood
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / drug therapy
  • Lymphokines / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors


  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Lymphokines
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Epoprostenol