Effects of vascular endothelial growth factor in ischemic stroke

J Neurosci Res. 2012 Oct;90(10):1873-82. doi: 10.1002/jnr.23088. Epub 2012 Jun 20.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a pleiotropic growth factor that is crucially involved in neurovascular remodeling in the ischemic brain. VEGF promotes angiogenesis, protects ischemic neurons from injury, has potent anti-inflammatory actions, and promotes brain plasticity, in addition to enhancing the recruitment and proliferation of neural precursor cells. These broad actions make VEGF interesting as a model molecule that allows understanding endogenous responses of the brain to injuries. However, several studies indicate that the route and timing of VEGF administration are crucial for the effects of VEGF on ischemic brain tissue. Hence, systemic VEGF delivery in the very acute stroke phase may exacerbate brain damage because of the promotion of blood-brain barrier breakdown that inevitably accompanies vascular growth. Future studies aimed at the promotion of neurovascular remodeling in ischemic stroke should carefully take into consideration pleiotropic actions of angiogenic growth factors beyond vascular growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / drug effects
  • Axons / physiology
  • Brain Ischemia / drug therapy*
  • Brain Ischemia / pathology
  • Capillary Permeability / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / drug therapy
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / drug effects
  • Neuronal Plasticity / drug effects
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / drug effects
  • Stroke / drug therapy*
  • Stroke / pathology
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / pharmacology
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / therapeutic use*


  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor