Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 25 Jan '17Published in: Scientific Reports
Small-airway remodelling is one of the most remarkable pathological features of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), in which angiogenesis plays a critical role that contributes to disease progression. The endothelial cell-specific mitogen vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), as well as its receptors, VEGFR1, VEGFR2, are thought to be the major mediators of pathological angiogenesis, and sunitinib exhibits anti-angiogenesis property through VEGF blockage and has been widely used to treat various cancers. In our study, Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) injection and cigarette smoke (CS) inhalation to induce COPD, following sunitinib administration was conducted. Haematoxylin-eosin, Masson staining and immunostaining analysis were used to evaluate the pathological changes; quantitative real-time PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay were performed to provide more compelling data on the function of VEGF, VEGFR1, VEGFR2 in angiogenesis. Sunitinib treatment was associated with less angiogenesis in small-airway remodelling with a slightly disordered lung architecture, and lower expression level of VEGF, VEGFR1, VEGFR2. Overall, our results indicate that VEGF is a vital important factor that contributes to the small-airway remodelling in a rat model of COPD through promoting angiogenesis, which mainly depend on the specific binding between VEGF and VEGFR1 and can be effectively attenuated by sunitinib.