RASA1 (also known as p120 RasGAP) is a Ras GTPase–activating protein that functions as a regulator of blood vessel growth in adult mice and humans. In humans, RASA1 mutations cause capillary malformation–arteriovenous malformation (CM-AVM); whether it also functions as a regulator of the lymphatic vasculature is unknown. We investigated this issue using mice in which Rasa1 could be inducibly deleted by administration of tamoxifen. Systemic loss of RASA1 resulted in a lymphatic vessel disorder characterized by extensive lymphatic vessel hyperplasia and leakage and early lethality caused by chylothorax (lymphatic fluid accumulation in the pleural cavity). Lymphatic vessel hyperplasia was a consequence of increased proliferation of lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) and was also observed in mice in which induced deletion of Rasa1 was restricted to LECs. RASA1-deficient LECs showed evidence of constitutive activation of Ras in situ. Furthermore, in isolated RASA1-deficient LECs, activation of the Ras signaling pathway was prolonged and cellular proliferation was enhanced after ligand binding to different growth factor receptors, including VEGFR-3. Blockade of VEGFR-3 was sufficient to inhibit the development of lymphatic vessel hyperplasia after loss of RASA1 in vivo. These findings reveal a role for RASA1 as a physiological negative regulator of LEC growth that maintains the lymphatic vasculature in a quiescent functional state through its ability to inhibit Ras signal transduction initiated through LEC-expressed growth factor receptors such as VEGFR-3.
Philip E. Lapinski, Sunkuk Kwon, Beth A. Lubeck, John E. Wilkinson, R. Sathish Srinivasan, Eva Sevick-Muraca, Philip D. King
Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability and the third leading cause of death in the United States. While most research thus far has focused on acute stroke treatment and neuroprotection, the exploitation of endogenous brain self-repair mechanisms may also yield therapeutic strategies. Here, we describe a distinct type of stroke treatment, the naturally occurring extracellular matrix fragment of perlecan, domain V, which we found had neuroprotective properties and enhanced post-stroke angiogenesis, a key component of brain repair, in rodent models of stroke. In both rat and mouse models, Western blot analysis revealed elevated levels of perlecan domain V. When systemically administered 24 hours after stroke, domain V was well tolerated, reached infarct and peri-infarct brain vasculature, and restored stroke-affected motor function to baseline pre-stroke levels in these multiple stroke models in both mice and rats. Post-stroke domain V administration increased VEGF levels via a mechanism involving brain endothelial cell α5β1 integrin, and the subsequent neuroprotective and angiogenic actions of domain V were in turn mediated via VEGFR. These results suggest that perlecan domain V represents a promising approach for stroke treatment.
Boyeon Lee, Douglas Clarke, Abraham Al Ahmad, Michael Kahle, Christi Parham, Lisa Auckland, Courtney Shaw, Mehmet Fidanboylu, Anthony Wayne Orr, Omolara Ogunshola, Andrzej Fertala, Sarah A. Thomas, Gregory J. Bix
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
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