BS in Biological Sciences
Biological Sciences Department
Chronic ischemia, caused by the formation atherosclerotic plaque occlusions in major conduit arteries, is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in western societies. Vascular remodeling can help compensate for the adverse effects of atherosclerotic plaque formation. Vascular remodeling relies heavily on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a critical protein that contributes to all forms of vascular formation and remodeling including angiogenesis, arteriogenesisand vasculogenesis. VEGF itself is up-regulated by the transcription factor, hypoxia inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1α), which becomes activated in low oxygen environments.
Through the use of animal chronic hindlimb ischemia models, these genes can be evaluated as potential therapeutic targets for chronic ischemia. A modified hindlimb ischemia surgery that we evaluated significantly increases VEGF expression, but does not cause an up-regulation of HIF-1α. This research lays the foundation for further investigation into the animal chronic hindlimb ischemia model by providing the necessary protocols and molecular biology techniques. The next step in this line of research should focus on protein quantification in the gastrocnemius muscle and verification of the gene expression profile described in this report.