Background and Objectives
Pulsed dye laser (PDL) is the most effective treatment for port wine stain (PWS) birthmarks. However, regeneration and revascularization of photocoagulated blood vessels may result in poor therapeutic outcome. We have recently shown that rapamycin (RPM), an angiogenesis inhibitor, can reduce the regeneration and revascularization of photocoagulated blood vessels. Herein, we attempt to further elucidate the molecular pathophysiology on the inhibition of the regeneration and revascularization of photocoagulated blood vessels by topical RPM in an animal model.
Materials and Methods
Two separate skin areas on each hamster were irradiated by PDL. After PDL exposure, topical RPM was applied daily to one of the randomly selected test sites. PDL, PDL + RPM and normal skin test sites were biopsied on day 3 after PDL exposure. The total ribonucleic acid (RNA) and protein were extracted from biopsied skin samples and quantified. Real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunoblot were subsequently performed to quantify the mRNA and protein levels of hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1α), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and ribosomal protein S6 kinase (S6). The phosphorylation levels of S6 and AKT were also evaluated by immunoblot.
The mRNA and protein levels of HIF-1α, VEGF, and S6 significantly increased after PDL exposure as compared to the normal hamster skin. Topical application of 1% RPM suppressed the PDL-induced increase in mRNA and protein levels of those genes on day 3 post-PDL exposure. The phosphorylation levels of S6 and AKT increased after PDL exposure but the increases were suppressed by the topical application of RPM.
The increase in expression of HIF-1α, VEGF, and S6 after PDL-exposure suggests that angiogenesis pathways play very active roles in the process of skin blood vessel regeneration and revascularization. Topical application of 1% RPM can suppress the angiogenesis pathways and, therefore, reduce the regeneration and revascularization of photocoagulated blood vessels.