Laura Sundberg1, Juan Herrera1, Olivera Nesic2, Ponnada Narayana1
1Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging, The University of Texas Medical School, Houston, TX, United States; 2Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, United States
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been investigated as a potential treatment for spinal cord injury (SCI) due to its vascular-promoting and neuroprotective effects; however, studies have provided conflicting information about the post-SCI effects of VEGF. In this study, VEGF was delivered immediately after SCI and longitudinal MRI and behavioral studies were performed into the chronic phase of injury. It was found that VEGF treatment results in tissue sparing and increased markers of neurofilament, but many animals also displayed a higher incidence of mechanical allodynia. VEGF may spare tissue, but may also encourage non-specific sprouting of axons into pain pathways.