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Impaired angiogenesis has been implicated in adipose tissue dysfunction and the development of obesity and associated metabolic disorders. Here, we report the unexpected finding that vascular endothelial growth factor B (VEGFB) gene transduction into mice inhibits obesity-associated inflammation and improves metabolic health without changes in body weight or ectopic lipid deposition. Mechanistically, the binding of VEGFB to VEGF receptor 1 (VEGFR1, also known as Flt1) activated the VEGF/VEGFR2 pathway and increased capillary density, tissue perfusion, and insulin supply, signaling, and function in adipose tissue. Furthermore, endothelial Flt1 gene deletion enhanced the effect of VEGFB, activating the thermogenic program in subcutaneous adipose tissue, which increased the basal metabolic rate, thus preventing diet-induced obesity and related metabolic complications. In obese and insulin-resistant mice, Vegfb gene transfer, together with endothelial Flt1 gene deletion, induced weight loss and mitigated the metabolic complications, demonstrating the therapeutic potential of the VEGFB/VEGFR1 pathway.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Aflibercept, an intravenously administered anti-VEGF and antiplacental growth factor (PlGF) agent, has recently been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in combination with 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and irinotecan (FOLFIRI) for the treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who have previously received an oxaliplatin-containing chemotherapy regimen. In the phase III VELOUR trial, aflibercept plus FOLFIRI statistically significantly prolonged both progression-free survival (PFS; median PFS for the aflibercept plus FOLFIRI arm was 6.90 vs. 4.67 months for the placebo-plus-FOLFIRI arm) and overall survival (median overall survival for the aflibercept-plus-FOLFIRI arm was 13.50 vs. 12.06 months for the placebo plus FOLFIRI arm), but grade 3 or 4 adverse events were more common with the addition of aflibercept. However, the addition of aflibercept to 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin (mFOLFOX6) in the phase II AFFIRM trial of first-line treatment of mCRC failed to improve PFS or response rate. As a decoy VEGF receptor, aflibercept (VEGF-Trap) has binding affinity for VEGF-A, VEGF-B, PlGF-1, and PlGF-2, and this is a mechanism of significant interest. Optimal strategies for incorporating aflibercept into treatment regimens that include other anti-VEGF and cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agents, as well as development of predictive biomarkers for treatment response, have yet to be defined.