OBJECTIVES We sought to improve regional myocardial delivery and subsequent collateral perfusion induced by basic fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) using selective pressure-regulated retroinfusion of coronary veins for delivery. This hypothesis was tested in a newly developed pig model with percutaneous induction of chronic ischemia. BACKGROUND Selective pressure-regulated retroinfusion of coronary veins is a catheter-based procedure that has been shown to provide effective regional delivery of drugs and gene vectors into ischemic myocardium. METHODS A high-grade stenosis with subsequent progression to total occlusion within 28 days was induced by implanting a reduction stent graft into the left anterior descending artery (LAD). After seven days, a 30-min retroinfusion (anterior cardiac vein) was performed with (n = 7) or without (n = 7) 150 microg FGF-2 and compared with a 30-min antegrade infusion of 150 microg FGF-2 into the LAD (n = 7). Sonomicrometry to assess regional myocardial function at rest and during pacing, and microspheres to assess regional myocardial blood flow, were performed 28 days after implantation of the reduction stent. RESULTS Retroinfusion of FGF-2 compared favorably with controls and with antegrade infusion of FGF-2 with regard to regional myocardial function at rest (18.5 +/- 4.1% vs. 5.7 +/- 2.9% vs. 7.9 +/- 1.8%, respectively, p < 0.05) and during pacing. Regional myocardial blood flow was also higher in the LAD territory after retroinfusion of FGF-2 (1.07 +/- 0.14 vs. 0.66 +/- 0.07 vs. 0.72 +/- 0.17 ml x min(-1) x g(-1), p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS Selective pressure-regulated retroinfusion increased tissue binding of FGF-2 and enhanced functionally relevant collateral perfusion compared with antegrade intracoronary delivery in pigs with chronic myocardial ischemia.