IMPROVED SURVIVAL OF RAT ISCHEMIC CUTANEOUS AND MUSCULOCUTANEOUS FLAPS AFTER VEGF GENE TRANSFER


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Abstract

When harvesting microsurgical flaps, the main goals are to obtain as much tissue as possible based on a single vascular pedicle and a reliable vascularization of the entire flap. These aims being in contrast to each other, microsurgeons have been looking for an effective way to enhance skin and muscle perfusion in order to avoid partial flap loss in reconstructive surgery. In this study we demonstrate the efficacy of VEGF 165 delivered by an Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) vector in two widely recognized rat flap models. In the rectus abdominis miocutaneous flap, intramuscular injection of AAV-VEGF reduced flap necrosis by 50%, while cutaneous delivery of the same amount of vector put down the epigastric flap's ischemia by >40%. Histological evidence of neoangiogenesis (enhanced presence of CD31-positive capillaries and α-Smooth Muscle Actin-positive arteriolae) confirmed the therapeutic effect of AAV-VEGF on flap perfusion.

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