Vascular endothelial growth factor expression in pig latissimus dorsi myocutaneous flaps after ischemia reperfusion injury

Detlev Erdmann, Ranya Sweis, Michael S. Wong, Laura E. Niklason, Tracey V. Du Laney, L. Scott Levin, Bruce Klitzman, Kevin C. Olbrich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Exogenous administration of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) improves long-term viability of myocutaneous flaps. However, endogenous expression of this substance in flaps following ischemia-reperfusion injury has not been reported previously. Endogenous production of VEGF was measured in myocutaneous pig latissimus dorsi flaps after ischemia-reperfusion injury. Latissimus dorsi myocutaneous flaps (15 × 10 cm) were simultaneously elevated bilaterally in six Yorkshire-type male pigs (25 kg). Before elevation, three flap zones (5 × 10 cm) were marked according to their distance from the vascular pedicle. After isolation of the vascular pedicle, ischemia-reperfusion injury was induced in one flap by occlusion of the thoracodorsal artery and vein for 4 hours, followed by 2 hours of reperfusion. The contralateral flap served as a control. Perfusion in each zone was monitored by laser Doppler flowmetry at baseline, during ischemia, and during reperfusion. At the end of the protocol, skin and muscle biopsies of each flap zone and adjacent tissues were obtained for later determination of VEGF protein levels. VEGF concentrations were quantified using the Quantikine human VEGF immunoassay. Skin perfusion was similar among all flap zones before surgery. Flow fell in all flaps immediately after flap elevation. After 4 hours of ischemia, blood flow in the ischemic flaps was significantly decreased (p < 0.05) compared with nonischemic control flaps. After 2 hours of reperfusion, flow in ischemic flap skin recovered to levels similar to those in control flaps. VEGF protein concentrations in muscle tissue exceeded concentrations in skin and decreased from zones 2 to 3 in control and ischemic flaps. No significant differences in VEGF concentrations between ischemic and control muscle zones were observed. However, the concentration of VEGF in all muscle zones was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than muscle adjacent to the flap. Concentrations in skin zones 1 and 2 were significantly higher (p < 0.05) in ischemic flaps than in control flaps, but levels in zone 3 (most ischemic flaps) showed no significant difference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)775-780
Number of pages6
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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