Vascular endothelial growth factor mediates vasogenic edema in acute lead encephalopathy.

TitleVascular endothelial growth factor mediates vasogenic edema in acute lead encephalopathy.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsHossain MA, Russell JC, Miknyoczki S, Ruggeri B, Lal B, Laterra J
JournalAnnals of neurology
Date Published2004 May

Brain injury from inorganic Pb(2+) is considered the most important environmental childhood health hazard worldwide. The microvasculature of the developing brain is uniquely susceptible to high level Pb(2+) toxicity (ie, Pb(2+) encephalopathy) characterized by cerebellar hemorrhage, increased blood-brain barrier permeability, and vasogenic edema. However, the specific molecular mediators of Pb(2+) encephalopathy have been elusive. We found that Pb(2+) induces vascular endothelial growth factor/vascular permeability factor (VEGF) in cultured astrocytes (J Biol Chem, 2000;275:27874-27882). The study presented here asks if VEGF dysregulation contributes mechanistically to Pb(2+) encephalopathy. Neonatal rats exposed to 4% Pb-carbonate develop the histopathological features of Pb(2+) encephalopathy seen in children. Cerebellar VEGF expression increased approximately twofold (p < 0.01) concurrent with the development of cerebellar microvascular hemorrhage, enhanced vascular permeability to serum albumin, and vasogenic cerebellar edema (p < 0.01). No change in VEGF expression occurred in cerebral cortex that does not develop these histopathological complications of acute Pb(2+) intoxication. Pb(2+) exposure increased phosphorylation of cerebellar Flk-1 VEGF receptors and the Flk-1 inhibitor CEP-3967 completely blocked cerebellar edema formation without affecting microhemorrhage formation or blood-brain barrier permeability. This establishes that Pb(2+)-induced vasogenic edema formation develops via a Flk-1-dependent mechanism and suggests that the vascular permeability caused by Pb(2+) is Flk-1 independent.

Alternate JournalAnn. Neurol.