Vascular endothelial growth factor is essential for hyperglycemia-induced structural and functional alterations of the peritoneal membrane

A. S. De Vriese, R. G. Tilton, C. C. Stephan, N. H. Lameire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


Long-term peritoneal dialysis is associated with the development of functional and structural alterations of the peritoneal membrane. Long-term exposure to the high glucose concentrations in conventional peritoneal dialysate has been implicated in the pathogenesis of peritoneal hyperpermeability and neoangiogenesis. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an endothelial-specific growth factor that potently stimulates microvascular permeability and proliferation. High glucose exposure upregulates VEGF expression in various cell types and tissues. This study investigated whether VEGF plays a pathogenetic role in hyperglycemia-induced microvascular dysfunction in the peritoneal membrane. The peritoneal microcirculation of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats and age-matched controls was studied in vivo with a combination of functional and morphologic techniques. The diabetic microcirculation was characterized by an elevated transport of small solutes, indicating the presence of an increased effective vascular surface area. The leakage of FITC-albumin was more rapid in diabetic vessels, suggesting hyperpermeability for macromolecules. Structurally, an increased vascular density with focal areas of irregular capillary budding was found in the diabetic peritoneum. The hyperglycemia-induced structural and functional microvascular alterations were prevented by long-term treatment with neutralizing anti-VEGF monoclonal antibodies, whereas treatment with isotype-matched control antibodies had no effect. VEGF blockade did not influence microvascular density or macromolecular leakage in control rats, demonstrating specificity for the hyperglycemia-induced alterations. The present results thus support an causative link among high glucose exposure, upregulation of VEGF, and peritoneal microvascular dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1734-1741
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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