2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) exposure prior to chick embryo incubation (GD 0) induces dilated cardiomyopathy, and reduces myocardial hypoxia, vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) expression, and coronary vascularization. We investigated whether reduced coronary vascularization 1) occurs in the absence of changes in cardiac morphology and 2) is associated with altered secretion of VEGF-A and/or an antivasculogenic factor.
Chicken eggs were treated with control (corn oil) or TCDD (0.075–0.3 pmol of TCDD/gm) on GD 5. In vivo cardiac morphology and artery number were determined on GD 10, while in vitro vascular outgrowth and VEGF-A secretion were determined from cardiac explants on GD 6. Effects of recombinant VEGF-A (rcVEGF-A), soluble flt-1 (sFlt-1) receptor plus rcVEGF-A, and control conditioned media were assessed in TCDD explants, while effects of TCDD-conditioned media was assessed in control explants.
TCDD reduced coronary artery number in vivo by 53 ± 8% and induced a dose-related reduction in tube outgrowth in vitro, but had no effect on cardiac morphology. All TCDD doses reduced explant VEGF-A secretion equally (43 ± 3%), compared to control. sFlt-1 blocked outgrowth in control cultures and blocked rcVEGF-A–mediated rescue of outgrowth in TCDD explants. Control conditioned media partially rescued outgrowth from TCDD explants, while conditioned media from TCDD explants had no effect on controls.
TCDD inhibition of coronary vascularization can occur in the absence of changes in cardiac morphology and is associated with reduced VEGF-A secretion but not an antivasculogenic factor. Since control media only partly rescues TCDD's inhibitory effect, we suggest that TCDD-exposed endothelial cells are less responsive to vasculogenic stimuli. Birth Defects Research (Part A), 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.