To investigate the expression and correlation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptor with hypoxia-inducible factor-1 α (HIF-1 α) in otitis media with effusion (OME).
A rat model of OME was induced by injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into the middle ear. Hematoxylin and eosin (HE) staining was used to observe the pathomorphological changes of the tympanic cavity in the middle ear of rats. Immunohistochemistry (IHC), western blotting and RT-qPCR were used to determine the mRNA and protein expression of VEGF, VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2 and HIF-1α in mucosa of tympanic cavity mucosa, respectively.
In the OME group, the epithelial space of the middle ear mucosa was significantly thickened and infiltration of a large number of inflammatory cells was found on postoperative day (POD), and the otitis media basically subsided 2 weeks after operation. VEGF mRNA expression was significantly increased on POD 1, and its protein expression peaked on POD 3. HIF-1α mRNA expression was significantly increased and peaked on POD 1, while its protein expression began to increase on POD 3 and was significantly expressed in the middle ear mucosal epithelium. HIF-1α mRNA showed a positive correlation with VEGF mRNA and VEGFR-1 mRNA expression.
VEGF mainly plays a role in the acute phase of OME, and it is abundantly expressed mediated by HIF-1α. And then it play a role in vasodilatation and increase of vascular permeability, thus promoting the generation of middle ear effusion.

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