Angiogenic growth factors including basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) have therapeutic value for chronic ischemia in nondiabetic animals. However, angiogenic therapy for chronic ischemia in a background of diabetes remains unexplored. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of exogenous bFGF on angiogenesis in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats with ischemic and nonischemic limbs. We produced ischemia of the left lower limb by excising the superficial femoral artery. At 2 weeks, the rats received an intramuscular injection of vehicle (group A), 0.3 microg bFGF/day (group B), or 1 microg bFGF/day (group C), daily for 2 weeks. At 4 weeks, we assessed limb angiogenesis by skeletal muscle capillary density (cap/mm2) and capillary per muscle fiber ratio (cap/F) counts. Group C had significantly higher mean levels compared to group A for calf capillary density (P < 0.0024) and capillary per muscle fiber ratio in both thigh (P < 0.0015) and calf (P < 0.0001). There was a trend toward increased mean capillary per muscle fiber ratio with increasing dose. This trend was significant in the calf (P < 0.0015) and just missed statistical significance in the thigh. There was a similar trend in calf capillary density. We conclude that exogenous bFGF enhances angiogenesis and, possibly, collateral circulation in ischemic limbs of diabetic rats.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.