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Angiogenic effect of intramuscular administration of basic and acidic fibroblast growth factor on skeletal muscles and influence of exercise on muscle angiogenesis
  1. A Efthimiadou1,
  2. B Asimakopoulos1,
  3. N Nikolettos1,
  4. A Giatromanolaki2,
  5. E Sivridis2,
  6. D N Papachristou3,
  7. E Kontoleon1
  1. 1Department of Physiology, Democritus University of Thrace, Medical School, Alexandroupolis, Greece
  2. 2Department of Pathology, Democritus University of Thrace
  3. 3Medicine-Division of Endocrinology, Democritus University of Thrace
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Efthimiadou
 Department of Physiology, Democritus University of Thrace, Medical School, University Campus, Dragana, Alexandroupolis 68100, Greece; aefthim{at}


Background: Angiogenic factors which control the angiogenic process represent a promising strategy for restoration of blood flow, but require further evaluation before clinical use. Exercise has also been reported to induce neovascularisation in muscles.

Objectives: To evaluate the angiogenic effects of basic fibroblast growth factor (b-FGF) and acidic fibroblast growth factor (a-FGF) on rat gastrocnemius muscle, when administered intramuscularly, and to compare them with those obtained by daily exercise.

Methods: Forty nine rats were allotted to the following groups: A, controls; B, exercise by swimming; C1 and C2, intramuscular injection of b-FGF and a-FGF respectively; D1 and D2, b-FGF and a-FGF injection in combination with exercise. The antibody mouse anti-rat CD31 was used to evaluate the numbers of blood vessels present in histological preparations of gastrocnemius muscle.

Results: Significant increases in the numbers of blood vessels of the right gastrocnemius muscles in groups C1 and D1 were observed compared with controls (p<0.05). There was only a slight increase in angiogenesis in the left gastrocnemius muscle of groups C1 and D1 compared with controls (p>0.05), and there was a decrease in angiogenesis in the gastrocnemius muscle of the swimming group compared with controls.

Conclusion: The intramuscular administration of b-FGF, but not a-FGF, induced significant local angiogenesis in gastrocnemius muscle at the site of injection.

  • a-FGF, acidic fibroblast growth factor
  • b-FGF, basic fibroblast growth factor
  • VEGF, vascular endothelial growth factor
  • angiogenesis
  • fibroblast growth factor
  • exercise
  • gastrocnemius muscle

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  • Competing interests: none declared