Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a secreted mitogen with high specificity toward endothelial cells. Expression of VEGF by smooth muscle cells in vivo may be an important stimulus for the regrowth of the endothelium after damage caused by interventions such as angioplasty. The levels of VEGF secreted by cultured smooth muscle cells minimally stimulated growth of endothelial cells in co-culture. Full length cDNA for the 165 amino acid residue, bovine VEGF (VEGF165), was isolated from calf liver total RNA by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) techniques, and used to generate plasmid constructs for transfection. Bovine aortic smooth muscle cells (BSMC), stably transfected with VEGF165 plasmid DNA, secreted mitogen into conditioned culture medium at levels that are physiologically refe.
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