Early Coronary Angiogenesis in Response to Thyroxine: Growth Characteristics and Upregulation of Basic Fibroblast Growth Factor

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Although a substantial coronary angiogenesis occurs after thyroid hormone treatment, its regulation and relationship to cardiac hypertrophy are not understood. This study was designed to determine (1) the onset of capillary proliferation, (2) the sites of capillary proliferation, and (3) whether basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) upregulation occurs in response to thyroxine administration. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were injected daily with L-thyroxine (T4, 0.2 mg/kg SC). Bromodeoxyuridine labeling of capillary endothelial cells increased during the first 24 hours of treatment and peaked after 2 days of treatment. Northern blot analysis revealed a slight increase in bFGF mRNA during this period, followed by a doubling of expression by 48 hours, at which time bFGF protein was also increased. In situ hybridization, used to localize bFGF mRNA, showed an increase in transcripts within 24 hours after T4. This enhancement was uniform in the epimyocardium and endomyocardium. Histochemical analysis (double staining for alkaline phosphatase and dipeptidyl peptidase) of frozen sections, used to discriminate capillary profiles as arteriolar and venular, respectively, showed that growth occurred in the latter, since the percentage of capillary profiles positive for dipeptidyl peptidase was higher than the control value after 4 days of T4 administration. These data indicate that in the thyroxine model of cardiac hypertrophy (1) capillary DNA synthesis occurs after a single injection of thyroxine, (2) capillary growth coincides with an upregulation in bFGF mRNA and increase in bFGF protein, and (3) proliferation occurs in the venular capillaries. (Circ Res. 1998;82:587-593.)

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