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ABSTRACT: Skin flap survival is a significant problem in skin surgery; in particular, inadequate arterial or venous blood supply results in necrosis of the distalmost portion. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) of modifying the morphological features of skin flaps. Bilateral epigastric skin flaps were raised in 16 Wistar male rats. The epigastric artery and vein of the left flaps were clamped and then injected with rhVEGF (8 rats) or saline (8 rats). The right flaps were not clamped and received rhVEGF or saline systemically. The rats were euthanized on the seventh day and flap skin samples collected. Tissue fragments were subject to immunohistochemical (rhVEGF, VEGFr, VIII factor, CD34 antibodies), ultrastructural and morphostructural investigations. The results showed that rhVEGF improved the condition of flaps and that systemic administration was effective in promoting the development of an adequate vascular network.
The International journal of artificial organs 11/2001; 24(10):743-51. · 1.76 Impact Factor