A novel role of fibroblast growth factor-2 and pentosan polysulfate in the pathogenesis of intestinal bleeding in mice

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2007 Feb;292(2):H743-50. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00969.2006. Epub 2006 Oct 27.


Pentosan polysulfate (PPS) is a heparin-like polysaccharide that can affect the binding interactions of fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) with its high-affinity receptors. Patients with angiogenic tumors frequently show high levels of FGF-2 in the circulation. Since FGF-2 is a heparin-binding angiogenic growth factor, PPS has been used successfully to block its activity in patients with angiogenic tumors. However, because of its heparin-like activity, the major toxic effect of PPS is the development of bleeding disorders. The role that circulating FGF-2 plays in the pathogenesis of bleeding disorders in patients treated with PPS is currently unknown. Here we hypothesized that FGF-2 might play a physiological role in the pathogenesis of intestinal bleeding induced by PPS. This hypothesis is supported by previous studies showing that PPS is accumulated in the intestine and that circulating FGF-2 specifically binds to and modulates the angiogenic activity of intestinal submucosal endothelial cells. We used recombinant adenoviral vectors carrying a secreted form of FGF-2 and LacZ control vectors to determine whether high levels of circulating FGF-2 facilitate the development of intestinal bleeding disorders in FVB/N and C57BL/6J mice treated with PPS. We found that PPS, acting together with FGF-2, induced structural changes in intestinal vessels leading to the development of lethal intestinal hemorrhages. These findings might have wider clinical implications for the systemic use of PPS and other heparinoids in the treatment of patients with angiogenic diseases associated with high levels of circulating FGF-2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / metabolism
  • Blood Coagulation / drug effects
  • Blood Vessels / drug effects
  • Blood Vessels / metabolism
  • Blood Vessels / pathology
  • Capillary Permeability / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Endothelial Cells / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / blood
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / genetics
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / metabolism*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / pharmacology
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / blood
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / pathology
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Intestinal Diseases / blood
  • Intestinal Diseases / chemically induced
  • Intestinal Diseases / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Diseases / pathology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestines / blood supply
  • Intestines / drug effects*
  • Intestines / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Pentosan Sulfuric Polyester / adverse effects*
  • Pentosan Sulfuric Polyester / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Time Factors


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
  • Pentosan Sulfuric Polyester