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Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent proangiogenic peptide and its administration has been considered as a potential neuroprotective strategy following cerebral stroke. Because VEGF has a short half-life and limited access to the brain parenchyma following systemic administration, approaches are being developed to deliver it directly to the site of infarction. In the present study, VEGF was incorporated into a sustained release hydrogel delivery system to examine its potential benefits in a rat model of cerebral ischemia. The hydrogel loaded with VEGF (1 g) was stereotaxically injected into the striatum of adult rats 15 min prior to a 1-h occlusion of the middle cerebral artery. Two days after surgery, animals were tested for motor function using the elevated bias swing test (EBST) and Bederson neurological battery. Control animals received either stroke alone, stroke plus injections of a blank gel, or a single bolus injection of VEGF (1 g). Behavioral testing confirmed that the MCA occlusion resulted in significant deficits in the the EBST and Bederson tests. In contrast, the performance of animals receiving VEGF gels was significantly improved relative to controls, with only modest impairments observed. Cerebral infarction analyzed using 2,3,5-triphenyl-tetrazolium chloride staining confirmed that the VEGF gels significantly and potently reduced the lesion volume. No neurological or histological benefits were conferred by either blank gel or bolus VEGF injections. These data demonstrate that VEGF, delivered from a hydrogel directly to the brain, can induce significant functional and structural protection from ischemic damage in a rat model of stroke.
Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.