Interindividual heterogeneity in the hypoxic regulation of VEGF: Significance for the development of the coronary artery collateral circulation

Aylit Schultz, Lena Lavie, Irit Hochberg, Rafael Beyar, Tzachi Stone, Karl Skorecki, Peretz Lavie, Ariel Roguin, Andrew P. Levy

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211 Scopus citations


Background - The coronary artery collateral circulation may be beneficial in protecting against myocardial ischemia and necrosis. However, there is a tremendous interindividual variability in the degree of new collateral formation in patients with coronary artery disease. The basis for this interindividual heterogeneity is not understood. In this study we test the hypothesis that failure to generate collateral vessels is associated with a failure to appropriately induce with hypoxia or ischemia the angiogenic factor, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Methods and Results - We correlated the VEGF response to hypoxia in the monocytes harvested from patients with coronary artery disease with the presence of collaterals visualized during routine angiography. We found that there was a highly significant difference in the hypoxic induction of VEGF in patients with no collaterals compared with patients with some collaterals (mean fold induction 1.9±0.2 versus 3.2±0.3, P<0.0001). After subjecting the data to ANCOVA, using as covariates a number of factors that might influence the amount of collateral formation (ie, age, sex, diabetes, smoking, hypercholesterolemia), patients with no collaterals still have a significantly lower hypoxic induction of VEGF than patients with collaterals. Conclusions - This study provides evidence in support of the hypothesis that the ability to respond to progressive coronary artery stenosis is strongly associated with the ability to induce VEGF in response to hypoxia. The observed interindividual heterogeneity in this response may be due to environmental, epigenetic, or genetic causes. This interindividual heterogeneity may also help to explain the variable angiogenic responses seen in other conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and solid tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-552
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - 3 Aug 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiogenesis
  • Collateral circulation
  • Growth substances
  • Hypoxia
  • Ischemia


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