Vascular endothelial growth factor-B (VEGF-B) is closely related to VEGF-A, an effector of blood vessel growth during development and disease and a strong candidate for angiogenic therapies. To further study the in vivo function of VEGF-B, we have generated Vegfb knockout mice (Vegfb(-/-)). Unlike Vegfa knockout mice, which die during embryogenesis, Vegfb(-/-) mice are healthy and fertile. Despite appearing overtly normal, Vegfb(-/-) hearts are reduced in size and display vascular dysfunction after coronary occlusion and impaired recovery from experimentally induced myocardial ischemia. These findings reveal a role for VEGF-B in the development or function of coronary vasculature and suggest potential clinical use in therapeutic angiogenesis.
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