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In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (7)

Articles by Alexandra Cretu in JoVE

 JoVE Biology

Studying the Effects of Matrix Stiffness on Cellular Function using Acrylamide-based Hydrogels

1Department of Pharmacology, University of Pennsylvania


JoVE 2089

The effect of substrata stiffness on cellular function can be modeled in vitro using polyacrylamide hydrogels of varying compliances.

Other articles by Alexandra Cretu on PubMed

Human and Rat Glioma Growth, Invasion, and Vascularization in a Novel Chick Embryo Brain Tumor Model

The mechanisms that control the insidiously invasive nature of malignant gliomas are poorly understood, and their study would be facilitated by an in vivo model that is easy to manipulate and inexpensive. The developing chick embryo brain was assessed as a new xenograft model for the production, growth, and study of human and rat glioma cell lines. Three established glioma lines (U-87 MG, C6, and 9L) were injected into chick embryo brain ventricles on embryonic day (E) 5 and brains were examined after several days to two weeks after injection. All glioma lines survived, produced vascularized intraventricular tumors, and invaded the brain in a manner similar to that in rodents. Rat C6 glioma cells spread along vasculature and also invaded the neural tissue. Human U-87 glioma cells migrated along vasculature and exhibited slight invasion of neural tissue. Rat 9L gliosarcoma cells were highly motile, but migrated only along the vasculature. A derivative of 9L cells that stably expressed the cell surface adhesion molecule NgCAM/L1 was produced and also injected into chick embryo brain ventricles to see if this protein could facilitate tumor cell migration away from the vasculature into areas such as axonal tracts. 9L/NgCAM cells, however, did not migrate away from the vasculature and, thus, this protein alone cannot be responsible for diffuse invasiveness of some gliomas. 9L/NgCAM cell motility was assessed in vitro using sophisticated time-lapse microscopy and quantitative analysis, and was significantly altered compared to parental 9L cells. These studies demonstrate that the chick embryo brain is a successful and novel xenograft model for mammalian gliomas and demonstrate the potential usefulness of this new model for studying glioma tumor cell growth, vascularization, and invasiveness.

Targeting Integrins for the Control of Tumour Angiogenesis

The crucial role of cell extracellular matrix communication in angiogenesis is well established; thus, it is not surprising that integrins have gained considerable attention as targets for the treatment of neovascular disease. Given the diversity of ligands and complexity of integrin signalling, a new appreciation for the divergent roles of integrins in angiogenesis is emerging. It is becoming clear that integrins regulate angiogenesis in both a positive and negative manner. New studies have provided a better understanding of integrin structure as it relates to ligand binding and signalling. This new insight has opened exciting possibilities for the design of novel inhibitors for clinical applications. In this review, studies concerning the cooperative interactions between integrins and regulatory molecules and possible new strategies for controlling angiogenesis will be discussed.

Inhibition of Experimental Metastasis by Targeting the HUIV26 Cryptic Epitope in Collagen

Metastasis from the primary tumor to distant sites involves an array of molecules that function in an integrated manner. Proteolytic remodeling and subsequent tumor cell interactions with the extracellular matrix regulate tumor invasion. In previous studies, we have identified a cryptic epitope (HUIV26) that is specifically exposed after alterations in the triple helical structure of type IV collagen. Exposure of this cryptic epitope plays a fundamental role in the regulation of angiogenesis in vivo. However, little is known concerning the ability of tumor cells to interact with this cryptic site or whether this site regulates tumor cell metastasis in vivo. In this regard, many of the same cellular processes that regulate angiogenesis also contribute to tumor metastasis. Here we provide evidence that tumor cells such as B16F10 melanoma interact with denatured collagen type IV in part by recognizing the HUIV26 cryptic site. Systemic administration of a HUIV26 monoclonal antibody inhibited experimental metastasis of B16F10 melanoma in vivo. Taken together, our findings suggest that tumor cell interactions with the HUIV26 cryptic epitope play an important role in regulating experimental metastasis and that this cryptic element may represent a therapeutic target for controlling the spread of tumor cells to distant sites.

Disruption of Endothelial Cell Interactions with the Novel HU177 Cryptic Collagen Epitope Inhibits Angiogenesis

The importance of cellular communication with the extracellular matrix in regulating cellular invasion is well established. Selective disruption of communication links between cells and the local microenvironment by specifically targeting non-cellular matrix-immobilized cryptic extracellular matrix epitopes may represent an effective new clinical approach to limit tumor-associated angiogenesis. Therefore, we sought to determine whether the HU177 cryptic collagen epitope plays a functional role in regulating angiogenesis in vivo.

Impact of the Non-cellular Tumor Microenvironment on Metastasis: Potential Therapeutic and Imaging Opportunities

Evidence is accumulating that the malignant phenotype of a given tumor is dependent not only on the intrinsic characteristics of tumor cells, but also on the cooperative interactions of non-neoplastic cells, soluble secreted factors and the non-cellular solid-state ECM network that comprise the tumor microenvironment. Given the ability of the tumor microenvironment to regulate the cellular phenotype, recent efforts have focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms by which cells sense, assimilate, interpret, and ultimately respond to their immediate surroundings. Exciting new studies are beginning to unravel the complex interactions between the numerous cell types and regulatory factors within the tumor microenvironment that function cooperatively to control tumor cell invasion and metastasis. Here, we will focus on studies concerning a common theme, which is the central importance of the non-cellular solid-state compartment as a master regulator of the malignant phenotype. We will highlight the non-cellular solid-state compartment as a relatively untapped source of therapeutic and imaging targets and how cellular interactions with these targets may regulate tumor metastasis.

Stress Sensor Gadd45 Genes As Therapeutic Targets in Cancer

Gadd45 genes have been implicated in stress signaling responses to various physiological or environmental stressors, resulting in cell cycle arrest, DNA repair, cell survival and senescence, or apoptosis. Evidence accumulated up to date suggests that Gadd45 proteins function as stress sensors, mediating their activity through a complex interplay of physical interactions with other cellular proteins that are implicated in cell cycle regulation and the response of cells to stress. These include PCNA, p21, cdc2/cyclinB1, and the p38 and JNK stress response kinases. Disregulated expression of Gadd45 has been observed in multiple types of solid tumors as well as in hematopoietic malignancies. Also, evidence has accumulated that Gadd45 proteins are intrinsically associated with the response of tumor cells to a variety of cancer therapeutic agents. Thus, Gadd45 proteins may represent a novel class of targets for therapeutic intervention in cancer. Additional research is needed to better understand which of the Gadd45 stress response functions may be targeted for chemotherapeutic drug design in cancer therapy.

Insulin-like Growth Factor Binding Protein-4 Differentially Inhibits Growth Factor-induced Angiogenesis

An in-depth understanding of the molecular and cellular complexity of angiogenesis continues to advance as new stimulators and inhibitors of blood vessel formation are uncovered. Gaining a more complete understanding of the response of blood vessels to both stimulatory and inhibitory molecules will likely contribute to more effective strategies to control pathological angiogenesis. Here, we provide evidence that endothelial cell interactions with structurally altered collagen type IV may suppress the expression of insulin-like growth factor binding protein-4 (IGFBP-4), a well documented inhibitor of the IGF-1/IGF-1R signaling axis. We report for the first time that IGFBP-4 differentially inhibits angiogenesis induced by distinct growth factor signaling pathways as IGFBP-4 inhibited FGF-2- and IGF-1-stimulated angiogenesis but failed to inhibit VEGF-induced angiogenesis. The resistance of VEGF-stimulated angiogenesis to IGFBP-4 inhibition appears to depend on sustained activation of p38 MAPK as blocking its activity restored the anti-angiogenic effects of IGFBP-4 on VEGF-induced blood vessel growth in vivo. These novel findings provide new insight into how blood vessels respond to endogenous inhibitors during angiogenesis stimulated by distinct growth factor signaling pathways.

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