Spalax ehrenbergi has evolved adaptations that allow it to survive and carry out normal activities in a highly hypoxic environment. A key component of this adaptation is a higher capillary density in some Spalax tissues resulting in a shorter diffusion distance for oxygen. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an angiogenic factor that is critical for angiogenesis during development and in response to tissue ischemia. We demonstrate here that VEGF expression is markedly increased in those Spalax tissues with a higher capillary density relative to the normal laboratory rat Rattus norvegicus. Upregulation of VEGF thus appears to be an additional mechanism by which Spalax has adapted to its hypoxic environment. Copyright (C) 1999 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the Israeli Cancer Association (A.P.L.), the Israeli Academy of Sciences (A.P.L.), the Rappaport Institute for Medical Research (A.P.L.), the Israel Discount Bank Chair of Evolutionary Biology (E.N.) and the Ancell-Teicher Research Foundation for Genetics and Molecular Evolution (E.N.).
- Capillary density
- Spalax ehrenbergi
- Vascular endothelial growth factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Structural Biology
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology