Endothelin, vascular endothelial growth factor and nerve growth factor play important roles in development of the central nervous system. ET(B) receptors have been shown to promote neurovascular remodeling in the adult ischemic brain through an increase in VEGF and NGF. It is possible that ET(B) receptors may be involved in postnatal development of the brain through VEGF and NGF. In the present study, the brains of male rat pups on postnatal days 1, 7, 14 and 28 were analyzed for expression of ET(B) receptors, VEGF and NGF. In order to determine the effect of ET(B) receptor stimulation, a separate group of pups were administered saline or ET(B) receptor agonist, IRL-1620, on day 21, and their brains were analyzed on day 28. The intensity of ET(B) receptor and VEGF staining in the vasculature as well as the number of blood vessels of normal pups increased with age and was significantly higher on postnatal day 14 compared to day 1 and day 7. In contrast, both ET(B) and NGF staining intensity in the cortex and subventricular zones decreased (P<0.01) at postnatal day 14 compared to earlier time points. Stimulation of ET(B) receptors resulted in a significant increase in VEGF and ET(B) intensity both in the vasculature and the brain (P<0.05), however, IRL-1620 did not produce any change in NGF expression. Results indicate that ET(B) receptors appear to play a role in the development of the CNS and selective stimulation of ET(B) receptors enhances VEGF but not NGF in the postnatal rat brain.
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.