Aberrant regulation of the proliferation, survival, and migration of endothelial cells (ECs) is closely related to the abnormal angiogenesis that occurs in hypoxia-induced pathological situations, such as cancer and vascular retinopathy. Hypoxic conditions and the subsequent upregulation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1? and target genes are important for the angiogenic functions of ECs. Phospholipase D2 (PLD2) is a crucial signaling mediator that stimulates the production of the second messenger phosphatidic acid. PLD2 is involved in various cellular functions; however, its specific roles in ECs under hypoxia and in vivo angiogenesis remain unclear. In the present study, we investigated the potential roles of PLD2 in ECs under hypoxia and in hypoxia-induced pathological angiogenesis in vivo.
Penile erection is a neurovascular phenomenon, and erectile dysfunction (ED) is caused mainly by vascular risk factors or diseases, neurologic abnormalities, and hormonal disturbances. Men with diabetic ED often have severe endothelial dysfunction and peripheral nerve damage, which result in poor response to oral phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors. Nerve injury-induced protein 1 (Ninjurin 1, Ninj1) is known to be involved in neuroinflammatory processes and to be related to vascular regression during the embryonic period. Here, we demonstrate in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice that inhibition of the Ninj1 pathway by administering Ninj1-neutralizing antibody (Ninj1-Ab) or by using Ninj1-knockout mice successfully restored erectile function through enhanced penile angiogenesis and neural regeneration. Angiopoietin-1 (Ang1) expression was down-regulated and angiopoietin-2 expression was up-regulated in the diabetic penis compared with that in controls, and these changes were reversed by treatment with Ninj1-Ab. Ninj1 blockade-mediated penile angiogenesis and neural regeneration as well as recovery of erectile function were abolished by inhibition of Ang1-Tie2 (tyrosine kinase with Ig and epidermal growth factor homology domain-2) signaling with soluble Tie2 antibody or Ang1 siRNA. The present results suggest that inhibition of the Ninj1 pathway will be a novel therapeutic strategy for treating ED.
Tumor blood vessels are leaky and immature, which causes inadequate blood supply to tumor tissues resulting in hypoxic microenvironment and promotes metastasis. Here we have explored tumor vessel modulating activity of Sac-1004, a recently developed molecule in our lab, which directly potentiates VE-cadherin-mediated endothelial cell junction. Sac-1004 could enhance vascular junction integrity in tumor vessels and thereby inhibit vascular leakage and enhance vascular perfusion. Improved perfusion enabled Sac-1004 to have synergistic anti-tumor effect on cisplatin-mediated apoptosis of tumor cells. Interestingly, characteristics of normalized blood vessels namely reduced hypoxia, improved pericyte coverage and decreased basement membrane thickness were readily observed in tumors treated with Sac-1004. Remarkably, Sac-1004 was also able to inhibit lung and lymph node metastasis in MMTV and B16BL6 tumor models. This was in correlation with a reduction in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition of tumor cells with considerable diminution in expression of related transcription factors. Moreover, cancer stem cell population dropped substantially in Sac-1004 treated tumor tissues. Taken together, our results showed that direct restoration of vascular junction could be a significant strategy to induce normalization of tumor blood vessels and reduce metastasis.
Somatic cells can be reprogrammed to generate induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by overexpression of four transcription factors, Oct4, Klf4, Sox2, and c-Myc. However, exogenous expression of pluripotency factors raised concerns for clinical applications. Here, we show that iPS-like cells (iPSLCs) were generated from mouse somatic cells in two steps with small molecule compounds. In the first step, stable intermediate cells were generated from mouse astrocytes by Bmi1. These cells called induced epiblast stem cell (EpiSC)-like cells (iEpiSCLCs) are similar to EpiSCs in terms of expression of specific markers, epigenetic state, and ability to differentiate into three germ layers. In the second step, treatment with MEK/ERK and GSK3 pathway inhibitors in the presence of leukemia inhibitory factor resulted in conversion of iEpiSCLCs into iPSLCs that were similar to mESCs, suggesting that Bmi1 is sufficient to reprogram astrocytes to partially reprogrammed pluripotency. Next, Bmi1 function was replaced with Shh activators (oxysterol and purmorphamine), which demonstrating that combinations of small molecules can compensate for reprogramming factors and are sufficient to directly reprogram mouse somatic cells into iPSLCs. The chemically induced pluripotent stem cell-like cells (ciPSLCs) showed similar gene expression profiles, epigenetic status, and differentiation potentials to mESCs.
The Notch pathway stabilizes sprouting angiogenesis by favoring stalk cells over tip cells at the vascular front. Because tip and stalk cells have different properties in morphology and function, their transcriptional regulation remains to be distinguished. Transcription factor Sox17 is specifically expressed in endothelial cells, but its expression and role at the vascular front remain largely unknown.
In addition to fluid and lipid absorption, immune cell trafficking has now become recognized as one of the major functions of the lymphatic system. Recently, several critical roles of the lymphatic vessels (LVs) in modulating immune reactions during both physiological and pathological conditions have been emerging. As LVs serve as conduits for immune cells, they come to closely interact with macrophages/monocytes, dendritic cells, and T and B lymphocytes. Accumulating evidences indicate that reciprocal interactions between the LVs and immune cells exist which cause considerable influence over the process of immune cell migration, LV growth, and ultimately certain immune reactions. This chapter discusses on the interactions of macrophages/monocytes and dendritic cells with peripheral LVs and on those of sinusoidal macrophages and T and B lymphocytes with lymph node LVs.
Cardiomyocytes that differentiate from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) provide a crucial cellular resource for cardiac regeneration. The mechanisms of mitochondrial metabolic and redox regulation for efficient cardiomyocyte differentiation are, however, still poorly understood. Here, we show that inhibition of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) by Cyclosporin A (CsA) promotes cardiomyocyte differentiation from PSCs.
Lymphangiogenesis and lymphatic vessel remodeling are complex biological processes frequently observed during inflammation. Accumulating evidence indicates that inflammation-associated lymphangiogenesis (IAL) is not merely an endpoint event, but actually a phenomenon actively involved in the pathophysiology of various inflammatory disorders. The VEGF-C/VEGFR-3 and VEGF-A/VEGF-R2 signaling pathways are two of the best-studied pathways in IAL. Methods targeting these molecules, such as prolymphangiogenic or antilymphatic treatments, were found to be beneficial in various preclinical and/or clinical studies. This Review focuses on the most recent achievements in the fields of lymphatic biology relevant to inflammatory conditions. Additionally, preclinical and clinical therapies that modulate IAL are summarized.
Schlemm's canal (SC) is a specialized vascular structure in the eye that functions to drain aqueous humor from the intraocular chamber into systemic circulation. Dysfunction of SC has been proposed to underlie increased aqueous humor outflow (AHO) resistance, which leads to elevated ocular pressure, a factor for glaucoma development in humans. Here, using lymphatic and blood vasculature reporter mice, we determined that SC, which originates from blood vessels during the postnatal period, acquires lymphatic identity through upregulation of prospero homeobox protein 1 (PROX1), the master regulator of lymphatic development. SC expressed lymphatic valve markers FOXC2 and integrin ?9 and exhibited continuous vascular endothelial-cadherin (VE-cadherin) junctions and basement membrane, similar to collecting lymphatics. SC notably lacked luminal valves and expression of the lymphatic endothelial cell markers podoplanin and lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor 1 (LYVE-1). Using an ocular puncture model, we determined that reduced AHO altered the fate of SC both during development and under pathologic conditions; however, alteration of VEGF-C/VEGFR3 signaling did not modulate SC integrity and identity. Intriguingly, PROX1 expression levels linearly correlated with SC functionality. For example, PROX1 expression was reduced or undetectable under pathogenic conditions and in deteriorated SCs. Collectively, our data indicate that PROX1 is an accurate and reliable biosensor of SC integrity and identity.
Current antiangiogenic therapy is limited by its cytostatic nature and systemic side effects. To address these limitations, we have unveiled the role of RhoJ, an endothelial-enriched Rho GTPase, during tumor progression. RhoJ blockade provides a double assault on tumor vessels by both inhibiting tumor angiogenesis and disrupting the preformed tumor vessels through the activation of the RhoA-ROCK (Rho kinase) signaling pathway in tumor endothelial cells, consequently resulting in a functional failure of tumor vasculatures. Moreover, enhanced anticancer effects were observed when RhoJ blockade was employed in concert with a cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agent, angiogenesis-inhibiting agent, or vascular-disrupting agent. These results identify RhoJ blockade as a selective and effective therapeutic strategy for targeting tumor vasculature with minimal side effects.
The endothelial Tie1 receptor is ligand-less, but interacts with the Tie2 receptor for angiopoietins (Angpt). Angpt2 is expressed in tumor blood vessels, and its blockade inhibits tumor angiogenesis. Here we found that Tie1 deletion from the endothelium of adult mice inhibits tumor angiogenesis and growth by decreasing endothelial cell survival in tumor vessels, without affecting normal vasculature. Treatment with VEGF or VEGFR-2 blocking antibodies similarly reduced tumor angiogenesis and growth; however, no additive inhibition was obtained by targeting both Tie1 and VEGF/VEGFR-2. In contrast, treatment of Tie1-deficient mice with a soluble form of the extracellular domain of Tie2, which blocks Angpt activity, resulted in additive inhibition of tumor growth. Notably, Tie1 deletion decreased sprouting angiogenesis and increased Notch pathway activity in the postnatal retinal vasculature, while pharmacological Notch suppression in the absence of Tie1 promoted retinal hypervasularization. Moreover, substantial additive inhibition of the retinal vascular front migration was observed when Angpt2 blocking antibodies were administered to Tie1-deficient pups. Thus, Tie1 regulates tumor angiogenesis, postnatal sprouting angiogenesis, and endothelial cell survival, which are controlled by VEGF, Angpt, and Notch signals. Our results suggest that targeting Tie1 in combination with Angpt/Tie2 has the potential to improve antiangiogenic therapy.
Lymphatic vessels (LVs) play critical roles in the maintenance of fluid homeostasis and in pathological conditions, including cancer metastasis. Although mutations in ALK1, a member of the transforming growth factor (TGF)-?/bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) receptor family, have been linked to hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, a human vascular disease, the roles of activin receptor-like kinase 1 (ALK-1) signals in LV formation largely remain to be elucidated. We show that ALK-1 signals inhibit LV formation, and LVs were enlarged in multiple organs in Alk1-depleted mice. These inhibitory effects of ALK-1 signaling were mediated by BMP-9, which decreased the number of cultured lymphatic endothelial cells. Bmp9-deficient mouse embryos consistently exhibited enlarged dermal LVs. BMP-9 also inhibited LV formation during inflammation and tumorigenesis. BMP-9 downregulated the expression of the transcription factor prospero-related homeobox 1, which is necessary to maintain lymphatic endothelial cell identity. Furthermore, silencing prospero-related homeobox 1 expression inhibited lymphatic endothelial cell proliferation. Our findings reveal a unique molecular basis for the physiological and pathological roles of BMP-9/ALK-1 signals in LV formation.
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) are ischemic retinal diseases caused by insufficient vascular network formation and vascular regression in addition to aberrant angiogenesis. We examined the role of angiopoietin-1 (Ang1) in retinal vascular network formation during postnatal development using Ang1 gain- and loss-of-function mouse models, and tested the effects of intraocular administration of Ang1 in an oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) mouse model that mimics cardinal features of ROP and PDR. We observed that Ang1 plays a substantial role in the formation of the retinal vascular network during postnatal development and that Ang1 supplementation can rescue vascular retinopathies by simultaneously promoting healthy vascular network formation and inhibiting subsequent abnormal angiogenesis, vascular leakage, and neuronal dysfunction in the retinas of the OIR model. We attribute these Ang1-induced effects to a dual signaling pathway-Tie2 signaling in the vascular region and integrin ?v?5 signaling in the astrocytes. The activation of integrin ?v?5 signaling promoted fibronectin accumulation and radial distribution along the sprouting endothelial cells, which consequently stimulated guided angiogenesis in the retina. These findings shed light on the role of Ang1 in the recovery of ischemic retinopathies such as ROP, PDR, and retinal vascular occlusive disease.
Angiogenesis plays a critical role in synovial inflammation and joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) and angiopoietins are two important mediators of synovial angiogenesis. We have previously developed a novel chimeric decoy receptor, namely, double-antiangiogenic protein (DAAP), which can both bind VEGF-A and angiopoietins and block their actions. This study was performed to evaluate the antiarthritic effect of DAAP and the combination effect with the tumor necrosis factor ? (TNF-?) inhibitor in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA).
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a highly prevalent complication of diabetes, and the severity of endothelial dysfunction is one of the most important factors in reduced responsiveness to oral phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors.
To unveil the organotypic role and vulnerability of lymphatic vessels, we generated a lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor-1 (LYVE-1)-Cre/iDTR double-transgenic mouse and ablated LYVE-1-expressing lymphatic vessels in adult mice in a diphtheria toxin (DT)-inducible manner based on selective expression of LYVE-1 in most lymphatic vessels. Strikingly, lymphatic vessels in the small intestine and lymph nodes were rapidly ablated, but lymphatic vessels in the other organs were relatively intact at 24 hours after DT administration. Unexpectedly, LYVE-1-Cre/iDTR mice died of sepsis without visible edema at 24 and 60 hours after DT administration. The cause of death appeared to be related to acute failure of immune surveillance systems in the small intestine and draining lymph nodes. Of note, acute loss of lymphatic lacteals in intestinal villi appeared to trigger distortion of blood capillaries and the whole architecture of the villi, whereas acute loss of lymphatic vessels in lymph nodes caused dysfunction of lymph drainage and abnormal distribution of dendritic cells and macrophages. Thus, intact lymphatic vessels are required for structural and functional maintenance of surrounding tissues in an organotypic manner, at least in the intestine and lymph nodes.
Solid tumors supply oxygen and nutrients required for angiogenesis by producing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Thus, inhibitors of VEGF signaling abrogate tumor angiogenesis, resulting in the suppression of tumor growth and metastasis. We here investigated the effects of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) on VEGF-induced angiogenesis. TRAIL inhibited VEGF-induced in vitro angiogenesis of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and in vivo neovascularization in chicken embryos and mice. TRAIL blocked VEGF-induced angiogenic signaling by inhibiting ERK, Src, FAK, paxillin, Akt, and eNOS. Further, TRAIL blocked intracellular Ca(2+) elevation and actin reorganization in HUVECs stimulated with VEGF, without inhibiting VEGF receptor-2 tyrosine phosphorylation. TRAIL increased caspase-8 activity, without inducing caspase-9/-3 activation and apoptosis. Moreover, TRAIL resulted in cleavage of FAK into FAK-related non-kinase-like fragments in VEGF-stimulated HUVECs, which was blocked by a caspase-8 inhibitor and cellular caspase-8-like inhibitory protein. Biochemical and pharmacological inhibition of caspase-8 and FAK blocked the inhibitory effects of TRAIL on VEGF-stimulated anti-angiogenic signaling and events. In addition, caspase-8 knockdown also suppressed VEGF-mediated signaling and angiogenesis, suggesting that procaspase-8 plays a role of a non-apoptotic modulator in VEGF-induced angiogenic signaling. These results suggest that TRAIL inhibits VEGF-induced angiogenesis by increasing caspase-8 activity and subsequently decreasing non-apoptotic signaling functions of procaspase-8, without inducing caspase-3 activation and endothelial cell cytotoxicity. These data indicate that caspase-8 may be used as an anti-angiogenic drug for solid tumors resistant to TRAIL and anti-tumor drugs.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) guides the path of new vessel sprouts by inducing VEGF receptor-2 activity in the sprout tip. In the stalk cells of the sprout, VEGF receptor-2 activity is downregulated. Here, we show that VEGF receptor-2 in stalk cells is dephosphorylated by the endothelium-specific vascular endothelial-phosphotyrosine phosphatase (VE-PTP). VE-PTP acts on VEGF receptor-2 located in endothelial junctions indirectly, via the Angiopoietin-1 receptor Tie2. VE-PTP inactivation in mouse embryoid bodies leads to excess VEGF receptor-2 activity in stalk cells, increased tyrosine phosphorylation of VE-cadherin and loss of cell polarity and lumen formation. Vessels in ve-ptp(-/-) teratomas also show increased VEGF receptor-2 activity and loss of endothelial polarization. Moreover, the zebrafish VE-PTP orthologue ptp-rb is essential for polarization and lumen formation in intersomitic vessels. We conclude that the role of Tie2 in maintenance of vascular quiescence involves VE-PTP-dependent dephosphorylation of VEGF receptor-2, and that VEGF receptor-2 activity regulates VE-cadherin tyrosine phosphorylation, endothelial cell polarity and lumen formation.
The features and regulation of uterine angiogenesis and vascular remodelling during pregnancy are poorly defined. Here we show that dynamic and variable decidual angiogenesis (sprouting, intussusception and networking), and active vigorous vascular remodelling such as enlargement and elongation of vascular sinus folding (VSF) and mural cell drop-out occur distinctly in a spatiotemporal manner in the rapidly growing mouse uterus during early pregnancy - just after implantation but before placentation. Decidual angiogenesis is mainly regulated through VEGF-A secreted from the progesterone receptor (PR)-expressing decidual stromal cells which are largely distributed in the anti-mesometrial region (AMR). In comparison, P4 -PR-regulated VEGF-A-VEGFR2 signalling, ligand-independent VEGFR3 signalling and uterine natural killer (uNK) cells positively and coordinately regulate enlargement and elongation of VSF. During the postpartum period, Tie2 signalling could be involved in vascular maturation at the endometrium in a ligand-independent manner, with marked reduction of VEGF-A, VEGFR2 and PR expressions. Overall, we show that two key vascular growth factor receptors - VEGFR2 and Tie2 - strikingly but differentially regulate decidual angiogenesis and vascular remodelling in rapidly growing and regressing uteri in an organotypic manner.
There is an unmet need for proangiogenic therapeutic molecules for the treatment of tissue ischemia in cardiovascular diseases. However, major inducers of angiogenesis such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF/VEGF-A) have side effects that limit their therapeutic utility in vivo, especially at high concentrations. Angiopoietin-1 has been considered to be a blood vessel stabilization factor that can inhibit the intrinsic property of VEGF to promote vessel leakiness. In this study, we have designed and tested the angiogenic properties of chimeric molecules consisting of receptor-binding parts of VEGF and angiopoietin-1. We aimed at combining the activities of both factors into 1 molecule for easy delivery and expression in target tissues.
Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF) is highly expressed in adipose tissue. Its role, however, has not been fully elucidated. Here, we reveal the metabolic role of adipose-VEGF by studying mice with deletion (VEGF(Ad?)) or doxycycline-inducible overexpression of a VEGF transgene (VEGF(AdTg)) in the adipose tissue. VEGF(Ad?) mice have reduced adipose vascular density and show adipose hypoxia, apoptosis, inflammation, and metabolic defects on a high-fat diet. In contrast, induction of VEGF expression in VEGF(AdTg) mice leads to increased adipose vasculature and reduced hypoxia. The latter changes are sufficient to counteract an established compromising effect of high-fat diet on the metabolism, indicating that metabolic misbalance is reversible by adipose vessel density increase. Our data clearly show the essential role of VEGF signaling for adequate adipose function. Besides revealing insights into the molecular mechanisms of obesity-related metabolic diseases, this study points to the therapeutic potential of increased adipose angiogenesis.
Human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a cancer with a dismal prognosis. The efficacy of PDAC anticancer therapies is often short-lived; however, there is little information on how this disease entity so frequently gains resistance to treatment. We adopted the concept of cancer stem cells (CSCs) to explain the mechanism of resistance and evaluated the efficacy of a candidate anticancer drug to target these therapy-resistant CSCs. We identified a subpopulation of cells in PDAC with CSC features that were enriched for aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), a marker expressed in certain stem/progenitor cells. These cells were also highly resistant to, and were further enriched by, treatment with gemcitabine. Similarly, surgical specimens from PDAC patients showed that those who had undergone preoperative chemo-radiation therapy more frequently displayed cancers with ALDH strongly positive subpopulations compared with untreated patients. Importantly, these ALDH-high cancer cells were sensitive to disulfiram, an ALDH inhibitor, when tested in vitro. Furthermore, in vivo xenograft studies showed that the effect of disulfiram was additive to that of low-dose gemcitabine when applied in combination. In conclusion, human PDAC-derived cells that express high levels of ALDH show CSC features and have a key role in the development of resistance to anticancer therapies. Disulfiram can be used to suppress this therapy-resistant subpopulation.
Adipose tissue is a structure highly specialized in energy storage. The adipocyte is the parenchymal component of adipose tissue and is known to be mesoderm or neuroectoderm in origin; however, adipocyte development remains poorly understood. Here, we investigated the development of adipose tissue by analyzing postnatal epididymal adipose tissue (EAT) in mouse. EAT was found to be generated from non-adipose structure during the first 14 postnatal days. From postnatal day 1 (P1) to P4, EAT is composed of multipotent progenitor cells that lack adipogenic differentiation capacity in vitro, and can be regarded as being in the undetermined state. However, the progenitor cells isolated from P4 EAT obtain their adipogenic differentiation capacity by physical interaction generated by cell-to-matrix and cell-to-cell contact both in vitro and in vivo. In addition, we show that impaired angiogenesis caused by either VEGFA blockade or macrophage depletion in postnatal mice interferes with adipose tissue development. We conclude that appropriate interaction between the cellular and matrix components along with proper angiogenesis are mandatory for the development of adipose tissue.
Angiopoietin-1 (Ang1) plays a crucial role in vascular and hematopoietic development, mainly through its cognate receptor Tie2. However, little is known about the precise role of Ang1 in embryonic stem cell (ESC) differentiation. In the present study, we used COMP-Ang1 (a soluble and potent variant of Ang1) to explore the effect of Ang1 on endothelial and hematopoietic differentiation of mouse ESCs in an OP9 coculture system and found that Ang1 promoted endothelial cell (EC) differentiation from Flk-1(+) mesodermal precursors. This effect mainly occurred through Tie2 signaling and was altered in the presence of soluble Tie2-Fc. We accounted for this Ang1-induced expansion of ECs as enhanced proliferation and survival. Ang1 also had an effect on CD41(+) cells, transient precursors that can differentiate into both endothelial and hematopoietic lineages. Intriguingly, Ang1 induced the preferential differentiation of CD41(+) cells toward ECs instead of hematopoietic cells. This EC expansion promoted by Ang1 was also recapitulated in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and human ESCs. We successfully achieved in vivo neovascularization in mice by transplantation of ECs obtained from Ang1-stimulated ESCs. We conclude that Ang1/Tie2 signaling has a pivotal role in ESC-EC differentiation and that this effect can be exploited to expand EC populations.
Angiopoietin-like protein family 4 (Angptl4) has been shown to regulate lipoprotein metabolism through the inhibition of lipoprotein lipase (LPL). In familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), individuals lacking low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) present not only hypercholesterolemia, but also increased plasma triglyceride (TG)-rich lipoprotein remnants, and develop atherosclerosis. In addition, the most common type of dyslipidemia in individuals with diabetes is increased TG levels. We first generated LDLR(-/-)Angptl4(-/-) mice to study the effect of Angptl4 deficiency on the lipid metabolism. Fasting total cholesterol, VLDL-C, LDL-C, HDL-C and TG levels were decreased in LDLR(-/-)Angptl4(-/-) mice compared with LDLR(-/-)Angptl4(+/+) mice. In particular, post olive oil-loaded TG excursion were largely attenuated in LDLR(-/-)Angptl4(-/-) mice compared with LDLR(-/-)Angptl4(+/+) mice. We next introduced diabetes by streptozotocin (STZ) treatment in Angptl4(-/-) mice and examined the impacts of Angptl4 deficiency. Compared with diabetic Angptl4(+/+) mice, diabetic Angptl4(-/-) mice showed the improvement of fasting and postprandial hypertriglyceridemia as well. Thus, targeted silencing of Angptl4 offers a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of dyslipidemia in individuals with FH and insulin deficient diabetes.
Cellular antioxidant enzymes play crucial roles in aerobic organisms by eliminating detrimental oxidants and maintaining the intracellular redox homeostasis. Therefore, the function of antioxidant enzymes is inextricably linked to the redox-dependent activities of multiple proteins and signaling pathways. Here, we report that the VEGFR2 RTK has an oxidation-sensitive cysteine residue whose reduced state is preserved specifically by peroxiredoxin II (PrxII) in vascular endothelial cells. In the absence of PrxII, the cellular H(2)O(2) level is markedly increased and the VEGFR2 becomes inactive, no longer responding to VEGF stimulation. Such VEGFR2 inactivation is due to the formation of intramolecular disulfide linkage between Cys1199 and Cys1206 in the C-terminal tail. Interestingly, the PrxII-mediated VEGFR2 protection is achieved by association of two proteins in the caveolae. Furthermore, PrxII deficiency suppresses tumor angiogenesis in vivo. This study thus demonstrates a physiological function of PrxII as the residential antioxidant safeguard specific to the redox-sensitive VEGFR2.
Most bladder cancer patients experience lymphatic metastasis in the course of disease progression, yet the relationship between lymphangiogenesis and lymphatic metastasis is not well known. The aim of this study is to elucidate underlying mechanisms of how expanded lymphatic vessels and tumor microenvironment interacts each other and to find effective therapeutic options to inhibit lymphatic metastasis.
To maximize the production of flag-tagged cartilage oligomeric matrix protein angiopoietin-1 (FCA1) from Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, the effects of culture pH and temperature on cell growth and FCA1 production were investigated. Cells were cultivated in a bioreactor at different culture pH (6.7, 6.9, 7.2, and 7.5) and temperatures (33 and 37 °C). Lowering the culture temperature suppressed cell growth while allowing maintenance of high cell viability for a longer culture period. The specific FCA1 productivity (q (FCA1)) was increased at low culture temperature. Accordingly, the highest FCA1 concentration was obtained at pH 7.2 and 33 °C, and was approximately 4.0-fold higher than that at pH 7.2 and 37 °C. However, aggregates and a monomeric form of FCA1, which are undesirable due to reduced biological activity or immunogenicity, were significant at pH 7.2 and 33 °C. It was also found that the expression pattern of FCA1 was affected more significantly by culture pH than by the culture temperature. FCA1 aggregation dramatically decreased at culture pH 7.5 regardless of the culture temperature. Furthermore, the monomeric form of FCA1 was not observed. Taken together, optimization of culture temperature and culture pH (33 °C and pH 7.5) significantly improves the production of biologically active FCA1 with tetrameric or pentameric forms from CHO cells.
Tremendous efforts have been made to establish effective therapeutic neovascularization using adipose tissue-derived stromal vascular fraction (SVF), but the efficiency is low, and underlying mechanisms and their interaction with the host in a new microenvironment are poorly understood.
Pathological angiogenesis usually involves disrupted vascular integrity, vascular leakage, and infiltration of inflammatory cells, which are governed mainly by VEGF-A and TNF-?. Although many inhibitors targeting either VEGF-A or TNF-? have been developed, there is no single inhibitor molecule that simultaneously targets both molecules. Here, we designed and generated a novel chimeric decoy receptor (Valpha) that can simultaneously bind to VEGF-A and TNF-? and block their actions. In this experimental design, we have shown that Valpha, which is an effective synchronous blocker of VEGF-A and TNF-?, can drastically increase treatment effectiveness through its dual-blocking characteristics. Valpha contains the VEGF-A-binding domain of VEGFR1, the TNF-?-binding domain of TNFR2, and the Fc domain of IgG1. Valpha exhibited strong binding characteristics for its original counterparts, VEGF-A and TNF-?, but not for the extracellular matrix, resulting in a highly favorable pharmacokinetic profile in vivo. Compared with VEGF-Trap or Enbrel, both of which block either VEGF-A or TNF-?, singularly, Valpha is a highly effective molecule for reducing abnormal vascular tufts and the number of F4/80(+) macrophages in a retinopathy model. In addition, Valpha showed superior relief effects in a psoriasis model with regard to epidermal thickness and the area of blood and lymphatic vessels. Thus, the simultaneous blocking of VEGF-A and TNF-? using Valpha is an effective therapeutic strategy and cost-efficient for treatment of retinopathy and psoriasis.
Blood vessel leakiness is an early, transient event in acute inflammation but can also persist as vessels undergo remodeling in sustained inflammation. Angiopoietin/Tie2 signaling can reduce the leakiness through changes in endothelial cells. The role of pericytes in this action has been unknown. We used the selective PDGF-B-blocking oligonucleotide aptamer AX102 to determine whether disruption of pericyte-endothelial crosstalk alters vascular leakiness or remodeling in the airways of mice under four different conditions: i) baseline, ii) acute inflammation induced by bradykinin, iii) sustained inflammation after 7-day infection by the respiratory pathogen Mycoplasma pulmonis, or iv) leakage after bradykinin challenge in the presence of vascular stabilization by the angiopoietin-1 (Ang1) mimic COMP-Ang1 for 7 days. AX102 reduced pericyte coverage but did not alter the leakage of microspheres from tracheal blood vessels at baseline or after bradykinin; however, AX102 exaggerated leakage at 7 days after M. pulmonis infection and increased vascular remodeling and disease severity at 14 days. AX102 also abolished the antileakage effect of COMP-Ang1 at 7 days. Together, these findings show that pericyte contributions to endothelial stability have greater dependence on PDGF-B during the development of sustained inflammation, when pericyte dynamics accompany vascular remodeling, than under baseline conditions or in acute inflammation. The findings also show that the antileakage action of Ang1 requires PDGF-dependent actions of pericytes in maintaining endothelial stability.
In our previous study, we found that the gene transfer of a potent derivative of cartilage oligomeric matrix protein Angiopoietin-1 (COMP-Ang-1) substantially prevented hypertension, microvascular rarefaction, and target organ damage in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs). The purpose of the present study was to examine the role of nitric oxide (NO) in the therapeutic effects observed after COMP-Ang-1 gene transfer.
Patients with diabetic erectile dysfunction often have severe endothelial dysfunction and respond poorly to oral phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors. We examined the effectiveness of the potent angiopoietin-1 (Ang1) variant, cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP)-Ang1, in promoting cavernous endothelial regeneration and restoring erectile function in diabetic animals.
Lymph node lymphatic vessels (LNLVs) serve as a conduit to drain antigens from peripheral tissues to within the lymph nodes. LNLV density is known to be positively regulated by vascular endothelial growth factors secreted by B cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells (DCs). Here, we show that LNLV formation was negatively regulated by T cells. In both steady and inflammatory states, the density of LNLVs was increased in the absence of T cells but decreased when T cells were restored. Interferon-? secretion by T cells suppressed lymphatic-specific genes in lymphatic endothelial cells and consequently caused marked reduction in LNLV formation. When T cells were depleted, recruitment of antigen-carrying DCs to LNs was augmented, reflecting a compensatory mechanism for antigen presentation to T cells through increased LNLVs. Thus, T cells maintain the homeostatic balance of LNLV density through a negative paracrine action of interferon-?.
Angiopoietin-1 (Ang1) regulates both vascular quiescence and angiogenesis through the receptor tyrosine kinase Tie2. We and another group previously showed that Ang1 and Tie2 form distinct signaling complexes at cell-cell and cell-matrix contacts. We further demonstrated that the former up-regulates Notch ligand delta-like 4 (Dll4) only in the presence of cell-cell contacts. Because Dll4/Notch signal restricts sprouting angiogenesis and promotes vascular stabilization, we investigated the mechanism of how the Ang1/Tie2 signal induces Dll4 expression to clarify the role of the Dll4/Notch signal in Ang1/Tie2 signal-mediated vascular quiescence. Under confluent endothelial cells, the basal Notch signal was observed. Ang1, moreover, induced Dll4 expression and production of the Notch intracellular domain (NICD). Ang1 stimulated transcriptional activity of ?-catenin through phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT-mediated phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase 3? (GSK3?). Correspondingly, the GSK3? inhibitor up-regulated Dll4, whereas depletion of ?-catenin by siRNA blocked Ang1-induced Dll4 expression, indicating the indispensability of ?-catenin in Ang1-mediated up-regulation of Dll4. In addition, Dll4 expression by the GSK3? inhibitor was only observed in confluent cells, and was impeded by DAPT, a ?-secretase inhibitor, implying requirement of the Notch signal in ?-catenin-dependent Dll4 expression. Consistently, we found that either Ang1 or NICD up-regulates Dll4 through the RBP-J binding site within intron 3 of the DLL4 gene and that ?-catenin forms a complex with NICD/RBP-J to enhance Dll4 expression. Ang1 induced the deposition of extracellular matrix that is preferable for basement membrane formation through Dll4/Notch signaling. Collectively, the Ang1/Tie2 signal potentiates basal Notch signal controlling vascular quiescence by up-regulating Dll4 through AKT-mediated activation of ?-catenin.
Recruitment and adhesion of bone marrow (BM)-derived circulating progenitor cells to ischemic tissue are important for vasculogenesis and tissue repair. Recently, we found cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP)-Ang1 is a useful cell-priming agent to improve the therapeutic efficacy of progenitor cells. However, the effect and the underlying mechanisms of COMP-Ang1 on recruitment of BM-derived progenitor cells (BMPCs) to foci of vascular injury have not been well defined. Here, we found that COMP-Ang1 is a critical stimulator of stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1), the principal regulator of BM-cell trafficking. Furthermore, SDF-1 stimulation by COMP-Ang1 was blocked by small-interfering RNA (siRNA) against hypoxia-inducible factor-1? (HIF-1?). COMP-Ang1 increased the synthesis of HIF-1? by activating mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in hypoxic endothelium. The intermediate mechanism transmitting the COMP-Ang1 signal to the downstream mTOR/HIF-1?/SDF-1 pathway was the enhanced binding of the Tie2 receptor with integrin-linked kinase (ILK), an upstream activator of mTOR. In the mouse ischemic model, local injection of COMP-Ang1 stimulated the incorporation of BMPCs into ischemic limb, thereby enhancing neovasculogenesis and limb salvage. Collectively, our findings identify the COMP-Ang1/HIF-1?/SDF-1 pathway as a novel inducer of BMPC recruitment and neovasculogenesis in ischemic disease.
Highly metastatic and chemotherapy-resistant properties of malignant melanomas stand as challenging barriers to successful treatment; yet, the mechanisms responsible for their aggressive characteristics are not fully defined. We show that a distinct population expressing CD133 (Prominin-1), which is highly enriched after administration of a chemotherapeutic drug, dacarbazine, has enhanced metastatic potential in vivo. CD133(+) tumor cells are located close to tumor-associated lymphatic vessels in metastatic organs such as the regional lymph nodes and lung. Lymphatic endothelial cells promote the migratory activity of a CD133(+) subset to target organs and regulation of lymphatic growth efficiently modulates the metastasis of CD133(+) tumor cells. We found that lymphatic vessels in metastatic tissues stimulate chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4)(+)/CD133(+) cell metastasis to target organs by secretion of stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1). The CXCR4(+)/CD133(+) cells exhibited higher metastatic activity compared with CXCR4(-)/CD133(+) cells and, importantly, blockade of CXCR4 coupled with dacarbazine efficiently inhibited both tumor growth and metastasis; dacarbazine alone could not attenuate tumor metastasis. The current study demonstrates a previously unidentified role of the lymphatic microenvironment in facilitating metastasis of chemoresistant melanoma cells via a specific chemotactic axis, SDF-1/CXCR4. Our findings suggest that targeting the SDF-1/CXCR4 axis in addition to dacarbazine treatment could therapeutically block chemoresistant CD133(+) cell metastasis toward a lymphatic metastatic niche.
Differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) into functional cell types is a crucial step in cell therapy. In the present study, we demonstrate that functional CD34(+) progenitor cells can be efficiently produced from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) by combined modulation of 2 signaling pathways. A higher proportion of CD34(+) cells (? 20%) could be derived from hPSCs by inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (MEK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling and activation of bone morphogenic protein-4 (BMP4) signaling. hPSC-derived CD34(+) progenitor cells further developed to endothelial and smooth muscle cells with functionality. Moreover, they contributed directly to neovasculogenesis in ischemic mouse hind limbs, thereby resulting in improved blood perfusion and limb salvage. Our results suggest that combined modulation of signaling pathways may be an efficient means of differentiating hPSCs into functional CD34(+) progenitor cells.
In this issue of Blood, Kang and colleagues describe a molecular signaling network involving Notch, COUP-TFII, and Prox-1, along with other supporting molecules, that regulates the specification and maintenance of lymphatic endothelial cells.
Patients with erectile dysfunction (ED) associated with type II diabetes often have impaired endothelial function and tend to respond poorly to oral phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors. Therefore, neovascularization is a promising strategy for curing diabetic ED.
Orosomucoid (ORM), also called alpha-1 acid glycoprotein, is an abundant plasma protein that is an immunomodulator induced by stressful conditions such as infections. In this study, we reveal that Orm is induced selectively in the adipose tissue of obese mice to suppress excess inflammation that otherwise disturbs energy homeostasis. Adipose Orm levels were elevated by metabolic signals, including insulin, high glucose, and free fatty acid, as well as by the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha, which is found in increased levels in the adipose tissue of morbid obese subjects. In both adipocytes and macrophages, ORM suppressed proinflammatory gene expression and pathways such as NF-kappaB and mitogen-activated protein kinase signalings and reactive oxygen species generation. Concomitantly, ORM relieved hyperglycemia-induced insulin resistance as well as tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated lipolysis in adipocytes. Accordingly, ORM improved glucose and insulin tolerance in obese and diabetic db/db mice. Taken together, our results suggest that ORM integrates inflammatory and metabolic signals to modulate immune responses to protect adipose tissue from excessive inflammation and thereby from metabolic dysfunction.
Two vascular growth factor families, VEGF and the angiopoietins, play critical and coordinate roles in tumor progression and metastasis. A single inhibitor targeting both VEGF and angiopoietins is not available. Here, we developed a chimeric decoy receptor, namely double anti-angiogenic protein (DAAP), which can simultaneously bind VEGF-A and angiopoietins, blocking their actions. Compared to VEGF-Trap or Tie2-Fc, which block either VEGF-A or angiopoietins alone, we believe DAAP is a highly effective molecule for regressing tumor angiogenesis and metastasis in implanted and spontaneous solid tumors; it can also effectively reduce ascites formation and vascular leakage in an ovarian carcinoma model. Thus, simultaneous blockade of VEGF-A and angiopoietins with DAAP is an effective therapeutic strategy for blocking tumor angiogenesis, metastasis, and vascular leakage.
Sepsis, characterized by a systemic inflammatory state that is usually related to Gram-negative bacterial infection, is a leading cause of death worldwide. Although the annual incidence of sepsis is still rising, the exact cause of Gram-negative bacteria-associated sepsis is not clear. Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs), constitutively secreted from Gram-negative bacteria, are nano-sized spherical bilayered proteolipids. Using a mouse model, we showed that intraperitoneal injection of OMVs derived from intestinal Escherichia coli induced lethality. Furthermore, OMVs induced host responses which resemble a clinically relevant condition like sepsis that was characterized by piloerection, eye exudates, hypothermia, tachypnea, leukopenia, disseminated intravascular coagulation, dysfunction of the lungs, hypotension, and systemic induction of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6. Our study revealed a previously unidentified causative microbial signal in the pathogenesis of sepsis, suggesting OMVs as a new therapeutic target to prevent and/or treat severe sepsis caused by Gram-negative bacterial infection.
The self-renewal of embryonic stem cells involves a balance between processes governed by crosstalk between intrinsic and extrinsic factors. We hypothesized that protein serine/threonine phosphatase 2A (PP2A) may play a central role in the signaling pathways that regulate human embryonic stem cell (hESC) self-renewal. Biochemical analyses revealed that PP2A activity gradually increases over the course of hESC differentiation; PP2A/C and PP2A/A levels also increased. The overexpression of PP2A/C or the addition of PP2A activator C2-ceramide promoted hESC differentiation. Accordingly, the addition of PP2A inactivator okadaic acid (OA) maintained hESC self-renewal in the absence of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). The hESCs maintained with OA expressed pluripotency markers and exhibited substantial telomerase activity with normal karyotypes. The hESCs were able to differentiate into derivatives of the three germ layers, both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, the addition of OA and bFGF enabled the maintenance of hESC self-renewal without feeder cells, even in chemically defined xeno-free media. These findings shed a light on the role of PP2A in hESC differentiation and provide a novel strategy for maintaining the self-renewal capability of hESC in bFGF-free, feeder cell-free, and xeno-free media through the optimal suppression of PP2A activity using OA.
Although many animal studies indicate insulin has cardioprotective effects, clinical studies suggest a link between insulin resistance (hyperinsulinemia) and heart failure (HF). Here we have demonstrated that excessive cardiac insulin signaling exacerbates systolic dysfunction induced by pressure overload in rodents. Chronic pressure overload induced hepatic insulin resistance and plasma insulin level elevation. In contrast, cardiac insulin signaling was upregulated by chronic pressure overload because of mechanical stretch-induced activation of cardiomyocyte insulin receptors and upregulation of insulin receptor and Irs1 expression. Chronic pressure overload increased the mismatch between cardiomyocyte size and vascularity, thereby inducing myocardial hypoxia and cardiomyocyte death. Inhibition of hyperinsulinemia substantially improved pressure overload-induced cardiac dysfunction, improving myocardial hypoxia and decreasing cardiomyocyte death. Likewise, the cardiomyocyte-specific reduction of insulin receptor expression prevented cardiac ischemia and hypertrophy and attenuated systolic dysfunction due to pressure overload. Conversely, treatment of type 1 diabetic mice with insulin improved hyperglycemia during pressure overload, but increased myocardial ischemia and cardiomyocyte death, thereby inducing HF. Promoting angiogenesis restored the cardiac dysfunction induced by insulin treatment. We therefore suggest that the use of insulin to control hyperglycemia could be harmful in the setting of pressure overload and that modulation of insulin signaling is crucial for the treatment of HF.
The low engraftment rate of stem/progenitor cells infused via the intracoronary route to the ischemic myocardium is one of the most important factors limiting the efficacy of cell therapy. We investigated the concept of priming peripheral blood stem cells enriched by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor mobilization and apheresis ((mob)PBSCs) with angiopoietin-1 (Ang1), to enhance the engraftment into the ischemic tissue and neovasculogenic potential.
The stromal vascular fraction (SVF) in adipose tissue contains a pool of various stem and progenitor cells, but the existence of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) in the SVF has not been seriously considered. We detected the presence of HSPCs in the SVF by phenotypically probing with Lin(-)Sca-1(+)c-kit(+) (LSK) and functionally confirming the presence using colony-forming cell assay and assessing the long-term multilineage reconstitution ability after SVF transplantation. The LSK population in the SVF was 0.004% plus or minus 0.001%, and 5 x 10(5) freshly isolated SVF cells gave rise to 13 plus or minus 4 multilineage colonies. In addition, 0.15% plus or minus 0.03% of SVF cells was home to bone marrow (BM), especially near vascular and endosteal regions, 24 hours after blood transplantation. SVF transplantation was capable of generating a long-term (> 16 weeks), but variable extent (2.1%-32.1%) multilineage reconstitution in primary recipients, which was subsequently transferred to the secondary recipients by BM transplantation. All HSPCs within the SVF originated from the BM. Furthermore, the granulocyte-colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) mobilization of HSPCs from BM markedly elevated the number of phenotypic and functional HSPCs in the SVF, which induced a high efficiency long-term reconstitution in multilineage hematopoiesis in vivo. Our results provide compelling evidence that adipose tissue is a novel extramedullary tissue possessing phenotypic and functional HSPCs.
Lymphatic vessels in the diaphragm are essential for draining peritoneal fluid, but little is known about their pathological changes during inflammation. Here we characterized diaphragmatic lymphatic vessels in a peritonitis model generated by daily i.p. administration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in mice. Intraperitoneal LPS increased lymphatic density, branching, sprouts, connections, and network formation in the diaphragm in time- and dose-dependent manners. These changes were reversible on discontinuation of LPS administration. The LPS-induced lymphatic density and remodeling occur mainly through proliferation of lymphatic endothelial cells. CD11b+ macrophages were massively accumulated and closely associated with the lymphatic vessels changed by i.p. LPS. Both RT-PCR assays and experiments with vascular endothelial growth factor-C/D blockade and macrophage-depletion indicated that the CD11b+ macrophage-derived lymphangiogenic factors vascular endothelial growth factor-C/D could be major mediators of LPS-induced lymphangiogenesis and lymphatic remodeling through paracrine activity. Functional assays with India ink and fluorescein isothiocyanate-microspheres indicated that impaired peritoneal fluid drainage in diaphragm of LPS-induced peritonitis mice was due to inflammatory fibrosis and massive attachment of CD11b+ macrophages on the peritoneal side of the diaphragmatic lymphatic vessels. These findings reveal that CD11b+ macrophages play an important role in i.p. LPS-induced aberrant lymphangiogenesis and lymphatic dysfunction in the diaphragm.
Angiogenesis is closely associated with bone formation, especially endochondral ossification. Angiopoietin 1 (Ang1) is a specific growth factor functioning to generate a stable and matured vasculature through the Tie2 receptor/PI3K/AKT pathway. Recently cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP)-Ang1, an Ang1 variant which is more potent than native Ang1 in phosphorylating Tie2 receptor and AKT, was developed. This study was designed to examine the effects of angiogenic COMP-Ang1 on BMP2-induced osteoblast differentiation and bone formation.
The angiopoietin-1 (Ang1)/Tie2 signaling pathway is known to play an important role in the regulation of vascular maturation and maintenance of vessel integrity. In this study, we have investigated the effect of systemic Tie2 activation or inhibition on tumor growth and metastasis. We found that treatment with Ang1 delivered via an adenoviral vector promoted s.c. implanted tumor metastasis to the lungs. Ang1 treatment did not significantly increase vascular density in the tumors but induced enlargement of blood vessels in both the tumor and normal tissues, which increased tumor cell dissemination into the blood circulation. Ang1 also enhanced the formation of metastatic foci in the lungs when tumor cells were injected into the circulation via the tail vein. The effect of Ang1 on metastasis was validated by a simultaneous treatment with a soluble form of Tie2 (sTie2), which led to the suppression of Ang1-induced increase of tumor metastasis. Furthermore, using a highly metastatic tumor model, we confirmed that systemic treatment with sTie2 suppressed tumor metastasis to the lungs and lymph nodes, whereas tumor-associated angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis were not significantly affected. This suggests that the Ang1/Tie2 signals contribute to tumor progression by increasing vascular entry and exit of tumor cells to facilitate tumor dissemination and establishment of metastases.
To test whether chronic enhanced blood flow alters insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, we measured skeletal muscle glucose uptake in chow-fed and high-fat-fed mice injected with adenovirus containing modified angiopoietin-1, COMP-Ang1, via euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp. Blood flow rates and platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 positive endothelial cells in the hindlimb skeletal muscle were elevated in COMP-Ang1 compared with control LacZ. Whole body glucose uptake and whole body glycogen/lipid synthesis were elevated in COMP-Ang1 compared with LacZ in chow diet. High-fat diet significantly reduced whole body glucose uptake and whole body glycolysis in LacZ mice, whereas high-fat-fed COMP-Ang1 showed a level of whole body glucose uptake that was comparable with chow-fed LacZ and showed increased glucose uptake compared with high-fat-fed LacZ. Glucose uptake and glycolysis in gastrocnemius muscle of chow-fed COMP-Ang1 were increased compared with chow-fed LacZ. High-fat diet-induced whole body insulin resistance in the LacZ was mostly due to approximately 40% decrease in insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in skeletal muscle. In contrast, COMP-Ang1 prevented diet-induced skeletal muscle insulin resistance compared with high-fat-fed LacZ. Akt phosphorylation in skeletal muscle was increased in COMP-Ang1 compared with LacZ in both chow-fed and high-fat-fed groups. These results suggest that increased blood flow by COMP-Ang1 increases insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and prevents high-fat diet-induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle.
Angiopoietin-1 (Ang1) regulates both vascular quiescence and angiogenesis through the receptor tyrosine kinase Tie2. We and another group have recently shown that Ang1 and Tie2 form distinct signaling complexes at cell-cell and cell-matrix contacts and further demonstrated that the former selectively induces expression of Krüppel-like factor 2 (KLF2), a transcription factor involved in vascular quiescence. Here, we investigated the mechanism of how Ang1/Tie2 signal induces KLF2 expression to clarify the role of KLF2 in Ang1/Tie2 signal-mediated vascular quiescence. Ang1 stimulated KLF2 promoter-driven reporter gene expression in endothelial cells, whereas it failed when a myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2)-binding site of KLF2 promoter was mutated. Depletion of MEF2 by siRNAs abolished Ang1-induced KLF2 expression, indicating the requirement of MEF2 in KLF2 induction by Ang1. Constitutive active phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) and AKT increased the MEF2-dependent reporter gene expression by enhancing its transcriptional activity and stimulated the KLF2 promoter activity cooperatively with MEF2. Consistently, inhibition of either PI3K or AKT and depletion of AKT abrogated Ang1-induced KLF2 expression. In addition, we confirmed the dispensability of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 5 (ERK5) for Ang1-induced KLF2 expression. Furthermore, depletion of KLF2 resulted in the loss of the inhibitory effect of Ang1 on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-mediated expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 in endothelial cells and VEGF-mediated monocyte adhesion to endothelial cells. Collectively, these findings indicate that Ang1/Tie2 signal stimulates transcriptional activity of MEF2 through a PI3K/AKT pathway to induce KLF2 expression, which may counteract VEGF-mediated inflammatory responses.
The lymphatic vessel is a major conduit for immune cell transport; however, little is known about how lymphatic vessels regulate immune cell trafficking and how lymphatic vessels themselves respond to inflammation. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) plays a central role in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation, but the role of TLR4 in lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) is poorly understood. Here, we found that LECs express high amounts of TLR4 in the intracellular region, and that the TLR4 of LECs is the main mediator of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) activation by LPS. LPS-TLR4 signaling in LECs resulted in the production of various chemokines for chemotaxis of macrophage. In addition, TLR4 in LECs actively contributed to the recruitment of macrophages to the draining lymphatic vessel. Furthermore, the macrophages that infiltrated into the lymphatic vessel induced lymphangiogenesis by secreting lymphangiogenic growth factors. These phenomena were largely attenuated not only in the mice defective in TLR4 signaling but also in the chimeric mice defective in TLR4 signaling that were recipients for bone marrow transplantation from normal TLR4-signaling mice. In conclusion, TLR4 in LECs plays an essential role in LPS-induced inflammatory lymphangiogenesis by chemotactic recruitment of macrophages.
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), the Gram-negative bacterial outer membrane glycolipid, induces sepsis through its interaction with myeloid differentiation protein-2 (MD-2) and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). To block interaction between LPS/MD-2 complex and TLR4, we designed and generated soluble fusion proteins capable of binding MD-2, dubbed TLR4 decoy receptor (TOY) using the Hybrid leucine-rich repeats (LRR) technique. TOY contains the MD-2 binding ectodomain of TLR4, the LRR motif of hagfish variable lymphocyte receptor (VLR), and the Fc domain of IgG1 to make it soluble, productive, and functional. TOY exhibited strong binding to MD-2, but not to the extracellular matrix (ECM), resulting in a favorable pharmacokinetic profile in vivo. TOY significantly extended the lifespan, when administered in either preventive or therapeutic manners, in both the LPS- and cecal ligation/puncture-induced sepsis models in mice. TOY markedly attenuated LPS-triggered NF-kappaB activation, secretion of proinflammatory cytokines, and thrombus formation in multiple organs. Taken together, the targeting strategy for sequestration of LPS/MD-2 complex using the decoy receptor TOY is effective in treating LPS- and bacteria-induced sepsis; furthermore, the strategy used in TOY development can be applied to the generation of other novel decoy receptor proteins.
Using a bacterial pathogen-induced acute inflammation model in the skin, we defined the roles of local lymphatic vessels and draining lymph nodes (DLNs) in antigen clearance and inflammation resolution. At the peak day of inflammation, robust expansion of lymphatic vessels and profound infiltration of CD11b+/Gr-1+ macrophages into the inflamed skin and DLN were observed. Moreover, lymph flow and inflammatory cell migration from the inflamed skin to DLNs were enhanced. Concomitantly, the expression of lymphangiogenic growth factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C), VEGF-D, and VEGF-A were significantly up-regulated in the inflamed skin, DLNs, and particularly in enriched CD11b+ macrophages from the DLNs. Depletion of macrophages, or blockade of VEGF-C/D or VEGF-A, largely attenuated these phenomena, and produced notably delayed antigen clearance and inflammation resolution. Conversely, keratin 14 (K14)-VEGF-C transgenic mice, which have dense and enlarged lymphatic vessels in the skin dermis, exhibited accelerated migration of inflammatory cells from the inflamed skin to the DLNs and faster antigen clearance and inflammation resolution. Taken together, these results indicate that VEGF-C, -D, and -A derived from the CD11b+/Gr-1+ macrophages and local inflamed tissues play a critical role in promoting antigen clearance and inflammation resolution.
Angiopoietin-like protein family 4 (Angptl 4) has been shown to regulate lipoprotein metabolism through the inhibition of lipoprotein lipase (LPL). We generated ApoE(-/-)Angptl 4(-/-) mice to study the effect of Angptl 4 deficiency on lipid metabolism and atherosclerosis. Fasting and postolive oil-loaded triglyceride (TG) levels were largely decreased in ApoE(-/-)Angptl 4(-/-) mice compared with and ApoE(-/-)Angptl 4(+/+) mice. There was a significant (75+/-12%) reduction in atherosclerotic lesion size in ApoE(-/-)Angptl 4(-/-) mice compared with ApoE(-/-) Angptl 4(+/+) mice. Peritoneal macrophages, isolated from Angptl 4(-/-) mice to investigate the foam cell formation, showed a significant decrease in newly synthesized cholesteryl ester (CE) accumulation induced by acetyl low-density lipoprotein (acLDL) compared with those from Angptl 4(+/+) mice. Thus, genetic knockout of Angptl 4 protects ApoE(-/-) mice against development and progression of atherosclerosis and strongly suppresses the ability of the macrophages to become foam cells in vitro.
Although diverse functions of angiopoietin-2 (Ang2) have been revealed, little is known about upstream signaling molecules regulating Ang2 exocytosis. We therefore investigated the mechanism of Ang2 exocytosis in human blood and lymphatic endothelial cells (BECs and LECs) by stimulation with sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P).
Angiogenesis, the growth of blood vessels, is a fundamental biological process that controls embryonic development and is also involved in numerous life-threatening human diseases. Much work in the field of angiogenesis research has centred on the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-VEGF receptor system. The Tie receptors and their angiopoietin (Ang) ligands have been identified as the second vascular tissue-specific receptor Tyr kinase system. Ang-Tie signalling is essential during embryonic vessel assembly and maturation, and functions as a key regulator of adult vascular homeostasis. The structural characteristics and the spatio-temporal regulation of the expression of receptors and ligands provide unique insights into the functions of this vascular signalling system.
Angiopoietin (Ang) signaling through the Tie2 receptor regulates vasculature. The role of Ang signaling in pulmonary hypertension is well investigated, but its role in lung development is not elucidated. Here, we show that the Tie2 agonist ligand, Ang1, was detected in lung tissue at birth and its expression gradually increased in mice, whereas its antagonist Ang2 was abundant at birth and decreased inversely with Ang1. Mice expressing the potent chimeric Ang1 protein COMP-Ang1 in surfactant protein C (SPC)-positive lung epithelial cells, showed 50% lethality at birth due to respiratory failure. Surviving mice displayed impaired adaptive responsive respiratory function. Histological analysis revealed that pulmonary artery and alveolar structure were significantly dilated, and alveolar density was decreased to approximately a third of controls. Thus, the precise regulation of Tie2 signaling through an Ang1/Ang2 expression switch is important to construct a mature lung vascular network system required for normal lung development.
Accurate measurement of peripheral tissue perfusion is challenging but necessary to diagnose peripheral vascular insufficiency. Because near infrared (NIR) radiation can penetrate relatively deep into tissue, significant attention has been given to intravital NIR fluorescence imaging.
Ischemic necrosis of the femoral head (INFH) can lead to loss of femoral head architecture and deformity. Moreover, the process of bone healing is intimately associated with angiogenesis. We considered that COMP-Ang1 (an angiogenic factor) might preserve femoral head structure and facilitate bone repair.
Despite that angiopoietin-2 (Ang2) produces more versatile and dynamic functions than angiopoietin-1 (Ang1) in angiogenesis and inflammation, the molecular mechanism that underlies this difference is still unknown. To define the role of oligomerization of Ang2 in activation of its receptor, Tie2, we designed and generated different oligomeric forms of Ang2 by replacement of the amino-terminal domains of Ang2 with dimeric, tetrameric, and pentameric short coiled-coil domains derived from GCN4, matrillin-1, and COMP. COMP-Ang2 strongly binds and activates Tie2, whereas GCN4-Ang2 and MAT-Ang2 weakly to moderately bind and activate Tie2. Although native Ang2 strongly binds to Tie2, it does not activate Tie2. Accordingly, COMP-Ang2 strongly promotes endothelial cell survival, migration, and tube formation in a Tie2-dependent manner, and the potency of COMP-Ang2 is almost identical to that of COMP-Ang1. Furthermore, the potency of COMP-Ang2-induced enhanced angiogenesis in the wound healing region is almost identical to the potency of COMP-Ang1-induced enhanced angiogenesis. Overall, there is no obvious difference between COMP-Ang2 and COMP-Ang1 in in vitro and in vivo angiogenesis. Our results provide compelling evidence that proper oligomerization of Ang2 is a critical determinant of its binding and activation of Tie2.
Little is known about the transcriptional regulation of tumor angiogenesis, and tumor ECs (tECs) remain poorly characterized. Here, we studied the expression pattern of the transcription factor Sox17 in the vasculature of murine and human tumors and investigated the function of Sox17 during tumor angiogenesis using Sox17 genetic mouse models. Sox17 was specifically expressed in tECs in a heterogeneous pattern; in particular, strong Sox17 expression distinguished tECs with high VEGFR2 expression. Whereas overexpression of Sox17 in tECs promoted tumor angiogenesis and vascular abnormalities, Sox17 deletion in tECs reduced tumor angiogenesis and normalized tumor vessels, inhibiting tumor growth. Tumor vessel normalization by Sox17 deletion was long lasting, improved anticancer drug delivery into tumors, and inhibited tumor metastasis. Sox17 promoted endothelial sprouting behavior and upregulated VEGFR2 expression in a cell-intrinsic manner. Moreover, Sox17 increased the percentage of tumor-associated CD11b+Gr-1+ myeloid cells within tumors. The vascular effects of Sox17 persisted throughout tumor growth. Interestingly, Sox17 expression specific to tECs was also observed in highly vascularized human glioblastoma samples. Our findings establish Sox17 as a key regulator of tumor angiogenesis and tumor progression.
Among many proangiogenic growth factors, angiopoietin-1 (Ang1, or ANGPT1) is unique because it can induce distinctive vascular remodeling through highly organized angiogenesis and tightening of endothelial cell (EC) junctions. These effects are mediated by synchronous activation of both vascular Tie2 and nonvascular integrin signaling, making Ang1 a viable candidate for therapeutic neovascularization and vascular protection. Ang1 helps delay diabetic complications by restoring microvascular function and can maintain the quiescence of some adult stem cells. Interestingly, Ang1 is dispensable for maintaining normal vasculature throughout adulthood, challenging the original concept of its functions in cell survival and stabilization in quiescent vasculature. This review summarizes recent advances in understanding the biomedical implications of Ang1 and discusses its multifaceted roles in vascular diseases, the mechanisms underlying its effects, and potential therapeutic applications.
Endothelial adherens junctions maintain vascular integrity. Arteries and veins differ in their permeability but whether organization and strength of their adherens junctions vary has not been demonstrated in vivo. Here we report that vascular endothelial cadherin, an endothelial specific adhesion protein located at adherens junctions, is phosphorylated in Y658 and Y685 in vivo in veins but not in arteries under resting conditions. This difference is due to shear stress-induced junctional Src activation in veins. Phosphorylated vascular endothelial-cadherin is internalized and ubiquitinated in response to permeability-increasing agents such as bradykinin and histamine. Inhibition of Src blocks vascular endothelial cadherin phosphorylation and bradykinin-induced permeability. Point mutation of Y658F and Y685F prevents vascular endothelial cadherin internalization, ubiquitination and an increase in permeability by bradykinin in vitro. Thus, phosphorylation of vascular endothelial cadherin contributes to a dynamic state of adherens junctions, but is not sufficient to increase vascular permeability in the absence of inflammatory agents.
Successful differentiation and expansion of endothelial cells (ECs) from embryonic stem cell (ESC)-derived Flk1(+) mesodermal precursor cells (MPCs) requires supplementation of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A). While analyzing VEGF-A/VEGFR2 downstream signaling pathway that underlies the VEGF-A-induced differentiation and expansion of ECs, we fortuitously found that Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK) inhibitor Y27632 profoundly promoted the differentiation and expansion of ECs from Flk1(+) MPCs while reducing the differentiation and expansion of mural cells. The ROCK suppression-induced expansion of ECs appears to have resulted from promotion of proliferation of ECs via activation of PI3-kinase-Akt signaling. The ECs obtained by the combination of ROCK suppression and VEGF-A supplementation faithfully expressed most pan-EC surface makers, and phenotypic analyses revealed that they were differentiated toward arterial EC. Further incubation of the ICAM2(+) ECs with Y27632 and VEGF-A for 2 days promoted expansion of ECs by 6.5-fold compared with those incubated with only VEGF-A. Importantly, the ROCK suppression-induced ECs displayed neovasculogenic abilities in vitro and in vivo. Thus, supplementation of ROCK inhibitor Y27632 along with VEGF-A in 2D Matrigel culture system provides a simple, efficient, and versatile method for obtaining ample amount of ESC-derived ECs at high purity suitable for use in therapeutic neovascularization.
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