To investigate the effect of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) on solute permeability of mammalian microvessels, we measured the apparent permeability (P) of various-sized solutes on the postcapillary venules of rat mesentery in vivo. Exposure to 1 nM VEGF transiently increased P from a mean of 1.4 (+/-0.11 SE, n = 17) to a peak of 2.8 (+/-0.28 SE) x 10(-5) cm/s, a 2.4-fold increase for small solute sodium fluorescein (Stokes radius 0.45 nm), from a mean of 0.44 (+/-0.05 SE, n = 16) to a peak of 1.5 (+/-0.19 SE) x 10(-)5 cm/s, a 3.6-fold increase for intermediate-sized solute alpha-lactalbumin (Stokes radius 2.01 nm), from a mean of 0.049 (+/-0.0032 SE, n = 16) to a peak of 0.36 (+/-0.032 SE) x 10(-5) cm/s, a 7.9-fold increase for large solute bovine serum albumin (Stokes radius 3.55 nm), within 30 s. In approximately 2 min, all increased P returned to the baseline values. The response pattern of P to VEGF and the ratios of the peak to control values for rat mesenteric microvessels are similar to those of frog mesenteric microvessels [Am. J. Physiol.: Heart Circ. Physiol. 284 (2003) H2124]. Instead of considerable heterogeneity in the frog mesenteric microvessels, the acute response to 1 nM VEGF is homogeneous in the rat mesenteric microvessels.
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