Whole-body hyperthermia induces up-regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor accompanied by neovascularization in cardiac tissue

Bin Gong, Gregory K. Asimakis, Zhenping Chen, Thomas B. Albrecht, Paul J. Boor, Todd C. Pappas, Brent Bell, Massoud Motamedi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Whole-body hyperthermia (WBH) promotes cardiac protection against ischemia/reperfusion injury, in part by up-regulation of heat shock proteins (HSP). Whether heat stress also promotes up-regulation of angiogenic factors or induces endothelial cell proliferation is unknown. We studied the effects of heat stress on up-regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and growth of new blood vessels following WBH. Anesthetized rats were subjected to WBH at 42 °C for 15 min. The control (n = 23) and heated (n = 55) groups were allowed to recover for 4, 12, 24, 48, or 72 h prior to harvesting the heart for Western Blot and immunohistochemical assessment of VEGF, HSP70, and platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecular-1 (PECAM-1). A significant increase in VEGF and HSP70 expression was observed as early as 4 h post-heating. The Western Blot analysis revealed a close temporal correlation between up-regulation of HSP70 and VEGF. Maximum VEGF and HSP70 expression occurred at 12 and 24 h post-heating in the left and right ventricles, respectively. The right ventricle showed the greatest expression of both VEGF and HSP70. Immunostaining revealed that VEGF was focally increased in the endothelial cells of capillaries, small arteries, and in interstitium. At 48 and 72 h post-heating, multiple areas of extensive capillary proliferation occurred in the epicardial region of the right ventricle. These observations were verified by quantitative analysis of the density of blood vessels as determined by PECAM-1 staining. Our experiments show that sublethal heat stress can lead to upregulation of both VEGF and HSP70 in cardiac tissue and promote focal endothelial proliferation in the heart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1781-1788
Number of pages8
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 4 2006


  • Angiogenesis
  • Heat shock protein 70
  • Hyperthermia
  • Platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecular-1
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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