Recent studies have identified anti-apoptotic functions for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the central nervous system (CNS). However, VEGF therapy has been hampered by a tendency to promote vascular permeability, edema, and inflammation. Recently, engineered zinc finger proteins (ZFPs) that upregulate multiple forms of VEGF in their natural biological ratios, have been developed to overcome these negative side effects. We used retinal trauma and ischemia models, and a cortical pial strip ischemia model to determine if VEGF upregulating ZFPs are neuroprotective in the adult CNS. Optic nerve transection and ophthalmic artery ligation lead to the apoptotic degeneration of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and are, respectively, two highly reproducible models for CNS trauma or ischemia. Adeno-associated vectors (AAV) vectors encoding VEGF-ZFPs (AAV-VEGF-ZFP) significantly increased RGC survival by ?twofold at 14 days after optic nerve transection or ophthalmic artery ligation. Furthermore, AAV-VEGF-ZFP enhanced recovery of the pupillary light reflex. RECA-1 immunostaining demonstrated no appreciable differences between retinas treated with AAV-VEGF-ZFP and controls, suggesting that AAV-VEGF-ZFP treatment did not affect retinal vasculature. Following pial strip of the forelimb motor cortex, brains treated with an adenovirus encoding VEGF ZFPs (AdV-ZFP) showed higher neuronal survival, accelerated wound contraction, and reduced lesion volume between 1 and 6 weeks after injury. Behavioral testing using the cylinder test for vertical exploration showed that AdV-VEGF-ZFP treatment enhanced contralateral forelimb function within the first 2 weeks after injury. Our results indicate that VEGF ZFP therapy is neuroprotective following traumatic injury or stroke in the adult mammalian CNS.
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JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
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We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
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In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.