Can Aerobic Exercises Normalize Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) in Patients of Peripheral Arterial Disease?



The purpose of the current study was to find out the effect of eight weeks of aerobic training on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) protein and capillarization in peripheral arterial disease (PAD) patients. Therefore, we aimed to compare VEGF and capillarization of PAD subjects (n=10), who trained aerobic exercise for eight weeks against that of normal healthy subjects (n=9).


The muscles biopsies were taken from the middle part of vastus lateralis muscle at baseline and post -training. Vascular endothelial growth factor and capillarization was determined, using the immuno- histochemistry and RT-PCR protocol used previously for assessment of skeletal muscles and angiogenesis.


The peripheral arterial disease subjects had lower vascular endothelial growth factor (30%) as compared to control group at baseline (P<0.01). Capillary to fiber ratio was almost similar in both groups before the training intervention. However, after eight weeks of aerobic exercises, there was about 65% increment in VEGF (P<0.05), 20% increment in capillary to fiber ratio (P<0.01) and 10% increment in capillary density in peripheral arterial disease group compared with control group. There was also some increment in fiber size too in PAD group but no changes were seen in myofiber distribution.


In summary, aerobic training significantly increase the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) level in muscle tissue of peripheral arterial disease group. There was also improvement in capillary to fiber ratio, capillary density and fiber area, which shows that aerobic training, is the effective strategy to combat and prevent peripheral arterial disease.

Key words: Aerobic exercises, VEGF, Capillarization, peripheral arterial disease.