Heparin binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF) is an angiogenic factor mediating radial migration of the developing forebrain, while vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is known to influence rostral migratory stream in rodents. Cell migratory defects have been identified in animal models of hydrocephalus; however, the relationship between HB-EGF and hydrocephalus is unclear. We show that mice overexpressing human HB-EGF with β-galactosidase reporter exhibit an elevated VEGF, localization of β-galactosidase outside the subventricular zone (SVZ), subarachnoid hemorrhage, and ventriculomegaly. In Wistar polycystic kidney rats with hydrocephalus, alteration of migratory trajectory is detected. Furthermore, VEGF infusions into the rats result in ventriculomegaly with an increase of SVZ neuroblast in rostral migratory stream, whereas VEGF ligand inhibition prevents it. Our results support the idea that excess HB-EGF leads to a significant elevation of VEGF and ventricular dilatation. These data suggest a potential pathophysiological mechanism that elevated HB-EGF can elicit VEGF induction and hydrocephalus.
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