Astrocyte-derived VEGF mediates survival and tube stabilization of hypoxic brain microvascular endothelial cells in vitro

Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 2001 Sep 23;130(1):123-32. doi: 10.1016/s0165-3806(01)00220-6.


Chronic sublethal hypoxia has been associated with changes in neurovascular behavior, mediated, in part, by induction of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A(165)). In this report we demonstrate that RBE4 cells (derived from rodent cerebral microvasculature), when cultured in three-dimensional collagen gels: (1) Are induced to undergo increased tube formation in response to VEGF-A(165) in a dose-dependent manner; (2) undergo apoptosis under mild hypoxic conditions; (3) are rescued from the effects of hypoxia by the addition of exogenous VEGF-A(165) in a dose-dependent and inhibitable manner or by co-culture with primary newborn rat astrocytes, which are induced to express increased amounts of VEGF-A in hypoxic conditions. Further, we demonstrate that: (4) The observed astrocyte-produced, VEGF-mediated protection from apoptosis (survival) is inhibitable with soluble recombinant VEGF receptor-1 (sFlt), and is associated with a robust induction of MAPK tyrosine phosphorylation. These findings illustrate the importance of VEGF in the process of neurovascular survival in response to injury in developing brain and provide insight into the signaling pathways involved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cell Hypoxia / drug effects
  • Cell Hypoxia / physiology
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Collagen
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / pharmacology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology*
  • Gels
  • Hypoxia, Brain / metabolism*
  • Lymphokines / metabolism*
  • Lymphokines / pharmacology
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Rats
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors


  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Gels
  • Lymphokines
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Collagen
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases