Atherosclerosis remains a major cause of death in the developed world despite the success of therapies that lower cholesterol and BP. The intermediate-conductance calcium-activated potassium channel KCa3.1 is expressed in multiple cell types implicated in atherogenesis, and pharmacological blockade of this channel inhibits VSMC and lymphocyte activation in rats and mice. We found that coronary vessels from patients with coronary artery disease expressed elevated levels of KCa3.1. In Apoe–/– mice, a genetic model of atherosclerosis, KCa3.1 expression was elevated in the VSMCs, macrophages, and T lymphocytes that infiltrated atherosclerotic lesions. Selective pharmacological blockade and gene silencing of KCa3.1 suppressed proliferation, migration, and oxidative stress of human VSMCs. Furthermore, VSMC proliferation and macrophage activation were reduced in KCa3.1–/– mice. In vivo therapy with 2 KCa3.1 blockers, TRAM-34 and clotrimazole, significantly reduced the development of atherosclerosis in aortas of Apoe–/– mice by suppressing VSMC proliferation and migration into plaques, decreasing infiltration of plaques by macrophages and T lymphocytes, and reducing oxidative stress. Therapeutic concentrations of TRAM-34 in mice caused no discernible toxicity after repeated dosing and did not compromise the immune response to influenza virus. These data suggest that KCa3.1 blockers represent a promising therapeutic strategy for atherosclerosis.
Kazuyoshi Toyama, Heike Wulff, K. George Chandy, Philippe Azam, Girija Raman, Takashi Saito, Yoshimasa Fujiwara, David L. Mattson, Satarupa Das, James E. Melvin, Phillip F. Pratt, Ossama A. Hatoum, David D. Gutterman, David R. Harder, Hiroto Miura
The second messengers cAMP and cGMP can be degraded by specific members of the phosphodiesterase superfamily or by active efflux transporters, namely the multidrug resistance-associated proteins (MRPs) MRP4 and MRP5. To determine the role of MRP4 and MRP5 in cell signaling, we studied arterial SMCs, in which the effects of cyclic nucleotide levels on SMC proliferation have been well established. We found that MRP4, but not MRP5, was upregulated during proliferation of isolated human coronary artery SMCs and following injury of rat carotid arteries in vivo. MRP4 inhibition significantly increased intracellular cAMP and cGMP levels and was sufficient to block proliferation and to prevent neointimal growth in injured rat carotid arteries. The antiproliferative effect of MRP4 inhibition was related to PKA/CREB pathway activation. Here we provide what we believe to be the first evidence that MRP4 acts as an independent endogenous regulator of intracellular cyclic nucleotide levels and as a mediator of cAMP-dependent signal transduction to the nucleus. We also identify MRP4 inhibition as a potentially new way of preventing abnormal VSMC proliferation.
Yassine Sassi, Larissa Lipskaia, Grégoire Vandecasteele, Viacheslav O. Nikolaev, Stéphane N. Hatem, Fleur Cohen Aubart, Frans G. Russel, Nathalie Mougenot, Cédric Vrignaud, Philippe Lechat, Anne-Marie Lompré, Jean-Sébastien Hulot
Hedgehog (HH) signaling has emerged as a critical pathway involved in the pathogenesis of a variety of tumors. As a result, HH antagonists are currently being evaluated as potential anticancer therapeutics. Conversely, activation of HH signaling in the adult heart may be beneficial, as HH agonists have been shown to increase coronary vessel density and improve coronary function after myocardial infarction. To investigate a potential homeostatic role for HH signaling in the adult heart, we ablated endogenous HH signaling in murine myocardial and perivascular smooth muscle cells. HH signaling was required for proangiogenic gene expression and maintenance of the adult coronary vasculature in mice. In the absence of HH signaling, loss of coronary blood vessels led to tissue hypoxia, cardiomyocyte cell death, heart failure, and subsequent lethality. We further showed that HH signaling specifically controlled the survival of small coronary arteries and capillaries. Together, these data demonstrate that HH signaling is essential for cardiac function at the level of the coronary vasculature and caution against the use of HH antagonists in patients with prior or ongoing heart disease.
Kory J. Lavine, Attila Kovacs, David M. Ornitz
To meet tissue requirements for oxygen, capillaries must be properly distributed without excess or shortage. In this process, tissue oxygen concentration is well known to determine capillary density via the hypoxia-induced cascade, in which HIFs and VEGF play key roles. However, some additional mechanisms modulating this cascade are suggested to be involved in precise capillary network formation. Here, we showed that leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) was predominantly expressed in developing endothelium, while its receptor was expressed in surrounding cells such as retinal astrocytes. The retinas of Lif–/– mice displayed increased microvessel density accompanied by sustained tip cell activity, due to increased VEGF expression by astrocytes in the vascularized area. Lif–/– mice resisted hyperoxygen insult in the oxygen-induced retinopathy model, whereas they paradoxically had increased numbers of neovascular tufts. In an in vitro study, LIF inhibited hypoxia-induced VEGF expression and proliferation in cultured astrocytes. Lif–/– mice also exhibited similarly increased microvessel density and upregulated VEGF in various tissues outside the retina. Together, these findings suggest that tissues and advancing vasculature communicate to ensure adequate vascularization using LIF as well as oxygen, which suggests a new strategy for antiangiogenic therapy in human diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and cancer.
Yoshiaki Kubota, Masanori Hirashima, Kazuo Kishi, Colin L. Stewart, Toshio Suda
Retinal and choroidal vascular diseases, with their associated abnormalities in vascular permeability, account for the majority of patients with vision loss in industrialized nations. VEGF is upregulated in ischemic retinopathies such as diabetes and is known to dramatically alter vascular permeability in a number of nonocular tissues via Src kinase–regulated signaling pathways. VEGF antagonists are currently in clinical use for treating the new blood vessels and retinal edema associated with neovascular eye diseases, but such therapies require repeated intraocular injections. We have found that vascular leakage following intravitreal administration of VEGF in mice was abolished by systemic or topical delivery of what we believe is a novel VEGFR2/Src kinase inhibitor; this was confirmed in rabbits. The relevance of Src inhibition to VEGF-associated alterations in vascular permeability was further substantiated by genetic studies in which VEGF injection or laser-induced vascular permeability failed to augment retinal vascular permeability in Src–/– and Yes–/– mice (Src and Yes are ubiquitously expressed Src kinase family members; Src–/– and Yes–/– mice lacking expression of these kinases show no vascular leak in response to VEGF). These findings establish a role for Src kinase in VEGF-mediated retinal vascular permeability and establish a potentially safe and painless topically applied therapeutic option for treating vision loss due to neovascular-associated retinal edema.
Lea Scheppke, Edith Aguilar, Ray F. Gariano, Ruth Jacobson, John Hood, John Doukas, Jon Cao, Glenn Noronha, Shiyin Yee, Sara Weis, Michael B. Martin, Richard Soll, David A. Cheresh, Martin Friedlander
Experimental and clinical evidence indicate that bone marrow cells participate in the process of new blood vessel formation. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying their recruitment and their exact role are still elusive. Here, we show that bone marrow cells are recruited to the sites of neoangiogenesis through the neuropilin-1 (NP-1) receptor and that they are essential for the maturation of the activated endothelium and the formation of arteries in mice. By exploiting adeno-associated virus vector–mediated, long-term in vivo gene expression, we show that the 165-aa isoform of VEGF, which both activates the endothelium and recruits NP-1+ myeloid cells, is a powerful arteriogenic agent. In contrast, neither the shortest VEGF121 isoform, which does not bind NP-1 and thus does not recruit bone marrow cells, nor semaphorin 3A, which attracts cells but inhibits endothelial activation, are capable of sustaining arterial formation. Bone marrow myeloid cells are not arteriogenic per se nor are they directly incorporated in the newly formed vasculature, but they contribute to arterial formation through a paracrine effect ensuing in the activation and proliferation of tissue-resident smooth muscle cells.
Serena Zacchigna, Lucia Pattarini, Lorena Zentilin, Silvia Moimas, Alessandro Carrer, Milena Sinigaglia, Nikola Arsic, Sabrina Tafuro, Gianfranco Sinagra, Mauro Giacca
Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, including p21Cip1, are implicated in cell turnover and are active players in cardiovascular wound repair. Here, we show that p21Cip1 orchestrates the complex interactions between local vascular and circulating immune cells during vascular wound repair. In response to femoral artery mechanical injury, mice with homozygous deletion of p21Cip1 displayed accelerated proliferation of VSMCs and increased immune cell infiltration. BM transplantation experiments indicated that local p21Cip1 plays a pivotal role in restraining excessive proliferation during vascular wound repair. Increased local vascular stromal cell–derived factor-1 (SDF-1) levels were observed after femoral artery injury in p21+/+ and p21–/– mice, although this was significantly greater in p21–/– animals. In addition, disruption of SDF-1/CXCR4 signaling inhibited the proliferative response during vascular remodeling in both p21+/+ and p21–/– mice. We provide evidence that the JAK/STAT signaling pathway is an important regulator of vascular SDF-1 levels and that p21Cip1 inhibits STAT3 binding to the STAT-binding site within the murine SDF-1 promoter. Collectively, these results suggest that p21Cip1 activity is essential for the regulation of cell proliferation and inflammation after arterial injury in local vascular cells and that the SDF-1/CXCR4 signaling system is a key mediator of vascular proliferation in response to injury.
Michelle Olive, Jason A. Mellad, Leilani E. Beltran, Mingchao Ma, Thomas Cimato, Audrey C. Noguchi, Hong San, Richard Childs, Jason C. Kovacic, Manfred Boehm
Despite progress in cardiovascular research, a cure for peripheral vascular disease has not been found. We compared the vascularization and tissue regeneration potential of murine and human undifferentiated multipotent adult progenitor cells (mMAPC-U and hMAPC-U), murine MAPC-derived vascular progenitors (mMAPC-VP), and unselected murine BM cells (mBMCs) in mice with moderate limb ischemia, reminiscent of intermittent claudication in human patients. mMAPC-U durably restored blood flow and muscle function and stimulated muscle regeneration, by direct and trophic contribution to vascular and skeletal muscle growth. This was in contrast to mBMCs and mMAPC-VP, which did not affect muscle regeneration and provided only limited and transient improvement. Moreover, mBMCs participated in a sustained inflammatory response in the lower limb, associated with progressive deterioration in muscle function. Importantly, mMAPC-U and hMAPC-U also remedied vascular and muscular deficiency in severe limb ischemia, representative of critical limb ischemia in humans. Thus, unlike BMCs or vascular-committed progenitors, undifferentiated multipotent adult progenitor cells offer the potential to durably repair ischemic damage in peripheral vascular disease patients.
Xabier L. Aranguren, Jonathan D. McCue, Benoit Hendrickx, Xiao-Hong Zhu, Fei Du, Eleanor Chen, Beatriz Pelacho, Ivan Peñuelas, Gloria Abizanda, Maialen Uriz, Sarah A. Frommer, Jeffrey J. Ross, Betsy A. Schroeder, Meredith S. Seaborn, Joshua R. Adney, Julianna Hagenbrock, Nathan H. Harris, Yi Zhang, Xiaoliang Zhang, Molly H. Nelson-Holte, Yuehua Jiang, An D. Billiau, Wei Chen, Felipe Prósper, Catherine M. Verfaillie, Aernout Luttun
The Notch family of cell surface receptors and its ligands are highly conserved proteins that regulate cell fate determination, including those involved in mammalian vascular development. We report that Notch induces VEGFR-3 expression in vitro in human endothelial cells and in vivo in mice. In vitro, Notch in complex with the DNA-binding protein CBF-1/suppressor of hairless/Lag1 (CSL) bound the VEGFR-3 promoter and transactivated VEGFR-3 specifically in endothelial cells. Through induction of VEGFR-3, Notch increased endothelial cell responsiveness to VEGF-C, promoting endothelial cell survival and morphological changes. In vivo, VEGFR-3 was upregulated in endothelial cells with active Notch signaling. Mice heterozygous for null alleles of both Notch1 and VEGFR-3 had significantly reduced viability and displayed midgestational vascular patterning defects analogous to Notch1 nullizygous embryos. We found that Notch1 and Notch4 were expressed in normal and tumor lymphatic endothelial cells and that Notch1 was activated in lymphatic endothelium of invasive mammary micropapillary carcinomas. These results demonstrate that Notch1 and VEGFR-3 interact genetically, that Notch directly induces VEGFR-3 in blood endothelial cells to regulate vascular development, and that Notch may function in tumor lymphangiogenesis.
Carrie J. Shawber, Yasuhiro Funahashi, Esther Francisco, Marina Vorontchikhina, Yukari Kitamura, Stephanie A. Stowell, Valeriya Borisenko, Nikki Feirt, Simona Podgrabinska, Kazuko Shiraishi, Kallayanee Chawengsaksophak, Janet Rossant, Domenico Accili, Mihaela Skobe, Jan Kitajewski
Endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) transplantation has beneficial effects for therapeutic neovascularization; however, only a small proportion of injected cells home to the lesion and incorporate into the neocapillaries. Consequently, this type of cell therapy requires substantial improvement to be of clinical value. Erythropoietin-producing human hepatocellular carcinoma (Eph) receptors and their ephrin ligands are key regulators of vascular development. We postulated that activation of the EphB4/ephrin-B2 system may enhance EPC proangiogenic potential. In this report, we demonstrate in a nude mouse model of hind limb ischemia that EphB4 activation with an ephrin-B2–Fc chimeric protein increases the angiogenic potential of human EPCs. This effect was abolished by EphB4 siRNA, confirming that it is mediated by EphB4. EphB4 activation enhanced P selectin glycoprotein ligand-1 (PSGL-1) expression and EPC adhesion. Inhibition of PSGL-1 by siRNA reversed the proangiogenic and adhesive effects of EphB4 activation. Moreover, neutralizing antibodies to E selectin and P selectin blocked ephrin-B2–Fc–stimulated EPC adhesion properties. Thus, activation of EphB4 enhances EPC proangiogenic capacity through induction of PSGL-1 expression and adhesion to E selectin and P selectin. Therefore, activation of EphB4 is an innovative and potentially valuable therapeutic strategy for improving the recruitment of EPCs to sites of neovascularization and thereby the efficiency of cell-based proangiogenic therapy.
Philippe Foubert, Jean-Sébastien Silvestre, Boussad Souttou, Véronique Barateau, Coralie Martin, Téni G. Ebrahimian, Carole Leré-Déan, Jean Olivier Contreres, Eric Sulpice, Bernard I. Levy, Jean Plouët, Gérard Tobelem, Sophie Le Ricousse-Roussanne