Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an incurable neurodegenerative disorder involving both upper and lower motor neurons in the cerebral cortex, brainstem and spinal cord. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was originally described as a factor with a regulatory role in vascular growth and development, and now it also functions as a neurotrophic factor protecting motoneurons from insults such as oxidative stress, hypoxia and glutamate-excitotoxicity, but the role of VEGF in ALS is still unclear. The aim of this study is to measure cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum VEGF levels in patients with ALS, and to investigate whether there are correlations between CSF and serum VEGF levels and clinical parameters of the disease and whether VEGF has a prognostic and evaluating potential for ALS. Results showed that VEGF levels were found to increase significantly in CSF and serum in ALS patients studied; they were positively and significantly correlated with the disease duration in ALS patients and inversely and significantly correlated with disease progression rate (DPR) of ALS patients. Moreover, CSF and serum from ALS patients with long duration and slow disease progression rate revealed higher VEGF levels as compared to ALS patients with short duration and rapid disease progression rate. In conclusion, VEGF upregulation may indicate an activation of compensatory responses in ALS which may reflect or in fact account for increased duration and slow disease progression rate. We propose that VEGF may be a useful biomarker having the prognostic and evaluating potential for ALS.
Keywords: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; CSF; Disease progression rate; Duration; Serum; Vascular endothelial growth factor.
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