Neovessel formation is a complex process governed by the orchestrated action of multiple factors that regulate EC specification and dynamics within a growing vascular tree. These factors have been widely exploited to develop therapies for angiogenesis-related diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and tumor growth and metastasis. WNT signaling has been implicated in the regulation and development of the vascular system, but the detailed mechanism of this process remains unclear. Here, we report that Dickkopf1 (DKK1) and Dickkopf2 (DKK2), originally known as WNT antagonists, play opposite functional roles in regulating angiogenesis. DKK2 induced during EC morphogenesis promoted angiogenesis in cultured human endothelial cells and in in vivo assays using mice. Its structural homolog, DKK1, suppressed angiogenesis and was repressed upon induction of morphogenesis. Importantly, local injection of DKK2 protein significantly improved tissue repair, with enhanced neovascularization in animal models of both hind limb ischemia and myocardial infarction. We further showed that DKK2 stimulated filopodial dynamics and angiogenic sprouting of ECs via a signaling cascade involving LRP6-mediated APC/Asef2/Cdc42 activation. Thus, our findings demonstrate the distinct functions of DKK1 and DKK2 in controlling angiogenesis and suggest that DKK2 may be a viable therapeutic target in the treatment of ischemic vascular diseases.
Jeong-Ki Min, Hongryeol Park, Hyun-Jung Choi, Yonghak Kim, Bo-Jeong Pyun, Vijayendra Agrawal, Byeong-Wook Song, Jongwook Jeon, Yong-Sun Maeng, Seung-Sik Rho, Sungbo Shim, Jin-Ho Chai, Bon-Kyoung Koo, Hyo Jeong Hong, Chae-Ok Yun, Chulhee Choi, Young-Myoung Kim, Ki-Chul Hwang, Young-Guen Kwon
Angiogenesis is a hallmark of malignant neoplasias, as the formation of new blood vessels is required for tumors to acquire oxygen and nutrients essential for their continued growth and metastasis. However, the signaling pathways leading to tumor vascularization are not fully understood. Here, using a transplantable mouse tumor model, we have demonstrated that endogenous IFN-β inhibits tumor angiogenesis through repression of genes encoding proangiogenic and homing factors in tumor-infiltrating neutrophils. We determined that IFN-β–deficient mice injected with B16F10 melanoma or MCA205 fibrosarcoma cells developed faster-growing tumors with better-developed blood vessels than did syngeneic control mice. These tumors displayed enhanced infiltration by CD11b+Gr1+ neutrophils expressing elevated levels of the genes encoding the proangiogenic factors VEGF and MMP9 and the homing receptor CXCR4. They also expressed higher levels of the transcription factors c-myc and STAT3, known regulators of VEGF, MMP9, and CXCR4. In vitro, treatment of these tumor-infiltrating neutrophils with low levels of IFN-β restored expression of proangiogenic factors to control levels. Moreover, depletion of these neutrophils inhibited tumor growth in both control and IFN-β–deficient mice. We therefore suggest that constitutively produced endogenous IFN-β is an important mediator of innate tumor surveillance. Further, we believe our data help to explain the therapeutic effect of IFN treatment during the early stages of cancer development.
Jadwiga Jablonska, Sara Leschner, Kathrin Westphal, Stefan Lienenklaus, Siegfried Weiss
Infantile hemangioma is a benign endothelial tumor composed of disorganized blood vessels. It exhibits a unique life cycle of rapid postnatal growth followed by slow regression to a fibrofatty residuum. Here, we have reported the isolation of multipotential stem cells from hemangioma tissue that give rise to hemangioma-like lesions in immunodeficient mice. Cells were isolated based on expression of the stem cell marker CD133 and expanded from single cells as clonal populations. The CD133-selected cells generated human blood vessels 7 days after implantation in immunodeficient mice. Cell retrieval experiments showed the cells could again form vessels when transplanted into secondary recipients. The human vessels expressed GLUT-1 and merosin, immunodiagnostic markers for infantile hemangioma. Two months after implantation, the number of blood vessels diminished and human adipocytes became evident. Lentiviral expression of GFP was used to confirm that the hemangioma-derived cells formed the blood vessels and adipocytes in the immunodeficient mice. Thus, when transplanted into immunodeficient mice, hemangioma-derived cells recapitulated the unique evolution of infantile hemangioma — the formation of blood vessels followed by involution to fatty tissue. In summary, this study identifies a stem cell as the cellular origin of infantile hemangioma and describes for what we believe is the first time an animal model for this common tumor of infancy.
Zia A. Khan, Elisa Boscolo, Arnaud Picard, Sarah Psutka, Juan M. Melero-Martin, Tatianna C. Bartch, John B. Mulliken, Joyce Bischoff
Despite its early discovery and high sequence homology to the other VEGF family members, the biological functions of VEGF-B remain poorly understood. We revealed here a novel function for VEGF-B as a potent inhibitor of apoptosis. Using gene expression profiling of mouse primary aortic smooth muscle cells, and confirming the results by real-time PCR using mouse and rat cell lines, we showed that VEGF-B inhibited the expression of genes encoding the proapoptotic BH3-only proteins and other apoptosis- and cell death–related proteins, including p53 and members of the caspase family, via activation of VEGFR-1. Consistent with this, VEGF-B treatment rescued neurons from apoptosis in the retina and brain in mouse models of ocular neurodegenerative disorders and stroke, respectively. Interestingly, VEGF-B treatment at the dose effective for neuronal survival did not cause retinal neovascularization, suggesting that VEGF-B is the first member of the VEGF family that has a potent antiapoptotic effect while lacking a general angiogenic activity. These findings indicate that VEGF-B may potentially offer a new therapeutic option for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
Yang Li, Fan Zhang, Nobuo Nagai, Zhongshu Tang, Shuihua Zhang, Pierre Scotney, Johan Lennartsson, Chaoyong Zhu, Yi Qu, Changge Fang, Jianyuan Hua, Osamu Matsuo, Guo-Hua Fong, Hao Ding, Yihai Cao, Kevin G. Becker, Andrew Nash, Carl-Henrik Heldin, Xuri Li
We studied the vascular effects of invasive human cytotrophoblasts in vivo by transplanting placental villi to the fifth mammary fat pads or beneath the kidney capsules of Scid mice. Over 3 weeks, robust cytotrophoblast invasion was observed in both locations. The architecture of the mammary fat pad allowed for detailed analysis of the cells’ interactions with resident murine blood vessels, which revealed specific induction of apoptosis in the endothelial cells and smooth muscle walls of the arterioles. This finding, and confirmation of the results in an in vitro coculture model, suggests that a parallel process is important for enabling cytotrophoblast endovascular invasion during human pregnancy. Cytotrophoblast invasion of the kidney parenchyma was accompanied by a robust lymphangiogenic response, while in vitro, the cells stimulated lymphatic endothelial cell migration via the actions of VEGF family members, FGF, and TNF-α. Immunolocalization analyses revealed that human pregnancy is associated with lymphangiogenesis in the decidua since lymphatic vessels were not a prominent feature of the nonpregnant endometrium. Thus, the placenta triggers the development of a decidual lymphatic circulation, which we theorize plays an important role in maintaining fluid balance during pregnancy, with possible implications for maternal-fetal immune cell trafficking.
Kristy Red-Horse, Jose Rivera, Andrea Schanz, Yan Zhou, Virginia Winn, Mirhan Kapidzic, Emin Maltepe, Kelly Okazaki, Ronit Kochman, Kim Chi Vo, Linda Giudice, Adrian Erlebacher, Joseph M. McCune, Cheryl A. Stoddart, Susan J. Fisher
Bmx/Etk non-receptor tyrosine protein kinase has been implicated in endothelial cell migration and tube formation in vitro. However, the role of Bmx in vivo is not known. Bmx is highly induced in the vasculature of ischemic hind limbs. We used both mice with a genetic deletion of Bmx (Bmx-KO mice) and transgenic mice expressing a constitutively active form of Bmx under the endothelial Tie-2 enhancer/promoter (Bmx-SK-Tg mice) to study the role of Bmx in ischemia-mediated arteriogenesis/angiogenesis. In response to ischemia, Bmx-KO mice had markedly reduced, whereas Bmx-SK-Tg mice had enhanced, clinical recovery, limb perfusion, and ischemic reserve capacity when compared with nontransgenic control mice. The functional outcomes in these mice were correlated with ischemia-initiated arteriogenesis, capillary formation, and vessel maturation as well as Bmx-dependent expression/activation of TNF receptor 2– and VEGFR2-mediated (TNFR2/VEGFR2-mediated) angiogenic signaling in both hind limb and bone marrow. More importantly, results of bone marrow transplantation studies showed that Bmx in bone marrow–derived cells plays a critical role in the early phase of ischemic tissue remodeling. Our study provides the first demonstration to our knowledge that Bmx in endothelium and bone marrow plays a critical role in arteriogenesis/angiogenesis in vivo and suggests that Bmx may be a novel target for the treatment of vascular diseases such as coronary artery disease and peripheral arterial disease.
Yun He, Yan Luo, Shibo Tang, Iiro Rajantie, Petri Salven, Matthias Heil, Rong Zhang, Dianhong Luo, Xianghong Li, Hongbo Chi, Jun Yu, Peter Carmeliet, Wolfgang Schaper, Albert J. Sinusas, William C. Sessa, Kari Alitalo, Wang Min
Inflammatory angiogenesis is a critical process in tumor progression and other diseases. The inflammatory cytokine IL-1β promotes angiogenesis, tumor growth, and metastasis, but its mechanisms remain unclear. We examined the association between IL-1β–induced angiogenesis and cell inflammation. IL-1β induced neovascularization in the mouse cornea at rates comparable to those of VEGF. Neutrophil infiltration occurred on day 2. Macrophage infiltration occurred on days 4 and 6. The anti–Gr-1 Ab-induced depletion of infiltrating neutrophils did not affect IL-1β– or VEGF-induced angiogenesis. The former was reduced in monocyte chemoattractant protein-1–deficient (MCP-1–/–) mice compared with wild-type mice. After day 4, clodronate liposomes, which kill macrophages, reduced IL-1β–induced angiogenesis and partially inhibited VEGF-induced angiogenesis. Infiltrating macrophages near the IL-1β–induced neovasculature were COX-2 positive. Lewis lung carcinoma cells expressing IL-1β (LLC/IL-1β) developed neovasculature with macrophage infiltration and enhanced tumor growth in wild-type but not MCP-1–/– mice. A COX-2 inhibitor reduced tumor growth, angiogenesis, and macrophage infiltration in LLC/IL-1β. Thus, macrophage involvement might be a prerequisite for IL-1β–induced neovascularization and tumor progression.
Shintaro Nakao, Takashi Kuwano, Chikako Tsutsumi-Miyahara, Shu-ichi Ueda, Yusuke N. Kimura, Shinjiro Hamano, Koh-hei Sonoda, Yasuo Saijo, Toshihiro Nukiwa, Robert M. Strieter, Tatsuro Ishibashi, Michihiko Kuwano, Mayumi Ono
The molecular and cellular pathways that support the maintenance and stability of tumor neovessels are not well defined. The efficacy of microtubule-disrupting agents, such as combretastatin A4 phosphate (CA4P), in inducing rapid regression of specific subsets of tumor neovessels has opened up new avenues of research to identify factors that support tumor neoangiogenesis. Herein, we show that CA4P selectively targeted endothelial cells, but not smooth muscle cells, and induced regression of unstable nascent tumor neovessels by rapidly disrupting the molecular engagement of the endothelial cell–specific junctional molecule vascular endothelial-cadherin (VE-cadherin) in vitro and in vivo in mice. CA4P increases endothelial cell permeability, while inhibiting endothelial cell migration and capillary tube formation predominantly through disruption of VE-cadherin/β-catenin/Akt signaling pathway, thereby leading to rapid vascular collapse and tumor necrosis. Remarkably, stabilization of VE-cadherin signaling in endothelial cells with adenovirus E4 gene or ensheathment with smooth muscle cells confers resistance to CA4P. CA4P synergizes with low and nontoxic doses of neutralizing mAbs to VE-cadherin by blocking assembly of neovessels, thereby inhibiting tumor growth. These data suggest that the microtubule-targeting agent CA4P selectively induces regression of unstable tumor neovessels, in part through disruption of VE-cadherin signaling. Combined treatment with anti–VE-cadherin agents in conjunction with microtubule-disrupting agents provides a novel synergistic strategy to selectively disrupt assembly and induce regression of nascent tumor neovessels, with minimal toxicity and without affecting normal stabilized vasculature.
Loïc Vincent, Pouneh Kermani, Lauren M. Young, Joseph Cheng, Fan Zhang, Koji Shido, George Lam, Heidi Bompais-Vincent, Zhenping Zhu, Daniel J. Hicklin, Peter Bohlen, David J. Chaplin, Chad May, Shahin Rafii
Drusen are extracellular deposits that lie beneath the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and are the earliest signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Recent proteome analysis demonstrated that amyloid β (Aβ) deposition was specific to drusen from eyes with AMD. To work toward a molecular understanding of the development of AMD from drusen, we investigated the effect of Aβ on cultured human RPE cells as well as ocular findings in neprilysin gene–disrupted mice, which leads to an increased deposition Aβ. The results showed that Aβ treatment induced a marked increase in VEGF as well as a marked decrease in pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF). Conditioned media from Aβ-exposed RPE cells caused a dramatic increase in tubular formation by human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Light microscopy of senescent neprilysin gene–disrupted mice showed an increased number of degenerated RPE cells with vacuoles. Electron microscopy revealed basal laminar and linear deposits beneath the RPE layer, but we did not observe choroidal neovascularization (CNV). The present study demonstrates that Aβ accumulation affects the balance between VEGF and PEDF in the RPE, and an accumulation of Aβ reproduces features characteristic of human AMD, such as RPE atrophy and basal deposit formation. Some other factors, such as breakdown of integrity of Bruch membrane, might be necessary to induce CNV of AMD.
Takeshi Yoshida, Kyoko Ohno-Matsui, Shizuko Ichinose, Tetsuji Sato, Nobuhisa Iwata, Takaomi C. Saido, Toshio Hisatomi, Manabu Mochizuki, Ikuo Morita
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