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, 35 (3), 277-86

Cardiac Myofibroblasts: A Novel Source of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and Its Receptors Flt-1 and KDR

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Cardiac Myofibroblasts: A Novel Source of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and Its Receptors Flt-1 and KDR

Vishnu Chintalgattu et al. J Mol Cell Cardiol.

Abstract

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), produced predominantly by endothelial cells, is involved in angiogenesis and mitogenesis. Myofibroblasts (myoFb) are phenotypically transformed fibroblast-like cells found at the site of myocardial infarction. Since myoFb play a role in tissue repair/remodeling at the site of infarction, and express endothelin and angiotensin II (AngII), it was interesting to investigate whether myoFb express VEGF and its receptors de novo, and if the expression is influenced by vasoactive peptides. Primary cultures of myoFb were isolated from 4-week-old adult rat heart infarct were used in this study. Semiquantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), utilizing primers designed to amplify known isoforms of VEGF revealed expression of two predominant forms, VEGF120 and VEGF164 and northern blot hybridization detected VEGF mRNA of 4.5 kb. VEGF actions are mediated via two major receptors, Flt-1 and KDR, and hence the expression of these receptors was investigated. Flt-1 and KDR expression in myoFb was detected by RT-PCR, RNA transcripts were confirmed by northern blot hybridization while western blot confirmed the presence of VEGF, Flt-1 and KDR proteins in myoFb. In this study AngII upregulated VEGF and Flt-1 expression in myoFb, but not KDR; this was mediated predominantly by AT1-receptor. We report for the first time that cardiac myoFb, isolated from the site of infarction express VEGF, its receptors, Flt-1 and KDR, with modulation of VEGF and Flt-1 expression by AngII. Thus, VEGF may contribute to tissue remodeling and angiogenesis at the site of infarction in an autocrine manner.

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