Redundant roles of VEGF-B and PlGF during selective VEGF-A blockade in mice

Ajay K Malik, Megan E Baldwin, Franklin Peale, Germaine Fuh, Wei-Ching Liang, Henry Lowman, Gloria Meng, Napoleone Ferrara, Hans-Peter Gerber
Blood 2006 January 15, 107 (2): 550-7
Vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) and its 2 transmembrane tyrosine-kinase receptors, VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2, constitute a ligand-receptor signaling system that is crucial for developmental angiogenesis. VEGF-B and placental growth factor (PlGF) activate VEGFR-1 selectively, however, mice lacking either ligand display only minor developmental defects. We hypothesized that the relative contributions of VEGF-B and PlGF to VEGFR-1 signaling may be masked in the presence of VEGF-A, which is abundantly expressed during postnatal development. To test this hypothesis, neonatal or adult mice were treated with a monoclonal antibody (G6-23-IgG) blocking murine VEGF-A or a soluble VEGFR-1 receptor IgG chimeric construct [mFlt(1-3)-IgG], which neutralizes VEGF-A, VEGF-B, and PlGF. Both compounds attenuated growth and survival of neonatal mice to similar extents and the pathophysiologic alterations, including a reduction in organ size and vascularization, changes in gene expression, and hematologic end points, were essentially indistinguishable. In adult mice, we observed only minor changes in response to treatment, which were similar between both anti-VEGF compounds. In conclusion, our findings suggest that PlGF and VEGF-B do not compensate during conditions of VEGF-A blockade, suggesting a minor role for compensatory VEGFR-1 signaling during postnatal development and vascular homeostasis in adults. The absence of compensatory VEGFR-1 signaling by VEGF-B and PlGF may have important implications for the development of anticancer strategies targeting the VEGF ligand/receptor system.

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