VEGF is required for growth and survival in neonatal mice.
We employed two independent approaches to inactivate the angiogenic protein VEGF in newborn mice: inducible, Cre-loxP- mediated gene targeting, or administration of mFlt(1-3)-IgG, a soluble VEGF receptor chimeric protein. Partial inhibition of VEGF achieved by inducible gene targeting resulted in increased mortality, stunted body growth and impaired organ development, most notably of the liver. Administration of mFlt(1-3)-IgG, which achieves a higher degree of VEGF inhibition, resulted in nearly complete growth arrest and lethality. Ultrastructural analysis documented alterations in endothelial and other cell types. Histological and biochemical changes consistent with liver and renal failure were observed. Endothelial cells isolated from the liver of mFlt(1-3)-IgG-treated neonates demonstrated an increased apoptotic index, indicating that VEGF is required not only for proliferation but also for survival of endothelial cells. However, such treatment resulted in less significant alterations as the animal matured, and the dependence on VEGF was eventually lost some time after the fourth postnatal week. Administration of mFlt(1-3)-IgG to juvenile mice failed to induce apoptosis in liver endothelial cells. Thus, VEGF is essential for growth and survival in early postnatal life. However, in the fully developed animal, VEGF is likely to be involved primarily in active angiogenesis processes such as corpus luteum development. (+info)
Primary haemostasis: sticky fingers cement the relationship.
Platelet aggregation to form a haemostatic plug, or thrombus, plays a key role in preventing bleeding from a wound. Recent studies have provided new insights into how platelet receptors are deployed during the interactions with the vascular subendothelial matrix that lead to haemostatic plug formation. (+info)
Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL serve an anti-inflammatory function in endothelial cells through inhibition of NF-kappaB.
To maintain the integrity of the vascular barrier, endothelial cells (EC) are resistant to cell death. The molecular basis of this resistance may be explained by the function of antiapoptotic genes such as bcl family members. Overexpression of Bcl-2 or Bcl-XL protects EC from tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-mediated apoptosis. In addition, Bcl-2 or Bcl-XL inhibits activation of NF-kappaB and thus upregulation of proinflammatory genes. Bcl-2-mediated inhibition of NF-kappaB in EC occurs upstream of IkappaBalpha degradation without affecting p65-mediated transactivation. Overexpression of bcl genes in EC does not affect other transcription factors. Using deletion mutants of Bcl-2, the NF-kappaB inhibitory function of Bcl-2 was mapped to bcl homology domains BH2 and BH4, whereas all BH domains were required for the antiapoptotic function. These data suggest that Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL belong to a cytoprotective response that counteracts proapoptotic and proinflammatory insults and restores the physiological anti-inflammatory phenotype to the EC. By inhibiting NF-kappaB without sensitizing the cells (as with IkappaBalpha) to TNF-mediated apoptosis, Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL are prime candidates for genetic engineering of EC in pathological conditions where EC loss and unfettered activation are undesirable. (+info)
Chlamydial and human heat shock protein 60s activate human vascular endothelium, smooth muscle cells, and macrophages.
Both chlamydial and human heat shock protein 60s (HSP 60), which colocalize in human atheroma, may contribute to inflammation during atherogenesis. We tested the hypothesis that chlamydial or human HSP 60 activates human endothelial cells (ECs), smooth muscle cells (SMCs), and monocyte-derived macrophages. We examined the expression of adhesion molecules such as endothelial-leukocyte adhesion molecule-1 (E-selectin), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), and the production of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6). We also tested whether either HSP 60 induces nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), which contributes to the gene expression of these molecules. Either chlamydial or human HSP 60 induced E-selectin, ICAM-1, and VCAM-1 expression on ECs similar to levels induced by Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Each HSP 60 also significantly induced IL-6 production by ECs, SMCs, and macrophages to an extent similar to that induced by E. coli LPS, as assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In ECs, either HSP 60 triggered activation of NF-kappaB complexes containing p65 and p50 Rel proteins. Heat treatment abolished all these effects, but did not alter the ability of E. coli LPS to induce these functions. Chlamydial and human HSP 60s therefore activate human vascular cell functions relevant to atherogenesis and lesional complications. These findings help to elucidate the mechanisms by which a chronic asymptomatic chlamydial infection might contribute to the pathophysiology of atheroma. (+info)
Role of alphavbeta3 integrin in the activation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2.
Interaction between integrin alphavbeta3 and extracellular matrix is crucial for endothelial cells sprouting from capillaries and for angiogenesis. Furthermore, integrin-mediated outside-in signals co-operate with growth factor receptors to promote cell proliferation and motility. To determine a potential regulation of angiogenic inducer receptors by the integrin system, we investigated the interaction between alphavbeta3 integrin and tyrosine kinase vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) in human endothelial cells. We report that tyrosine-phosphorylated VEGFR-2 co-immunoprecipitated with beta3 integrin subunit, but not with beta1 or beta5, from cells stimulated with VEGF-A165. VEGFR-2 phosphorylation and mitogenicity induced by VEGF-A165 were enhanced in cells plated on the alphavbeta3 ligand, vitronectin, compared with cells plated on the alpha5beta1 ligand, fibronectin or the alpha2beta1 ligand, collagen. BV4 anti-beta3 integrin mAb, which does not interfere with endothelial cell adhesion to vitronectin, reduced (i) the tyrosine phosphorylation of VEGFR-2; (ii) the activation of downstream transductor phosphoinositide 3-OH kinase; and (iii) biological effects triggered by VEGF-A165. These results indicate a new role for alphavbeta3 integrin in the activation of an in vitro angiogenic program in endothelial cells. Besides being the most important survival system for nascent vessels by regulating cell adhesion to matrix, alphavbeta3 integrin participates in the full activation of VEGFR-2 triggered by VEGF-A, which is an important angiogenic inducer in tumors, inflammation and tissue regeneration. (+info)
Vascular endothelial growth factor activates nuclear factor of activated T cells in human endothelial cells: a role for tissue factor gene expression.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent angiogenic inducer that stimulates the expression of tissue factor (TF), the major cellular initiator of blood coagulation. Here we show that signaling triggered by VEGF induced DNA-binding and transcriptional activities of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) and AP-1 in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). VEGF also induced TF mRNA expression and gene promoter activation by a cyclosporin A (CsA)-sensitive mechanism. As in lymphoid cells, NFAT was dephosphorylated and translocated to the nucleus upon activation of HUVECs, and these processes were blocked by CsA. NFAT was involved in the VEGF-mediated TF promoter activation as evidenced by cotransfection experiments with a dominant negative version of NFAT and site-directed mutagenesis of a newly identified NFAT site within the TF promoter that overlaps with a previously identified kappaB-like site. Strikingly, this site bound exclusively NFAT not only from nuclear extracts of HUVECs activated by VEGF, a stimulus that failed to induce NF-kappaB-binding activity, but also from extracts of cells activated with phorbol esters and calcium ionophore, a combination of stimuli that triggered the simultaneous activation of NFAT and NF-kappaB. These results implicate NFAT in the regulation of endothelial genes by physiological means and shed light on the mechanisms that switch on the gene expression program induced by VEGF and those regulating TF gene expression. (+info)
Novel endotheliotropic herpesviruses fatal for Asian and African elephants.
A highly fatal hemorrhagic disease has been identified in 10 young Asian and African elephants at North American zoos. In the affected animals there was ultrastructural evidence for herpesvirus-like particles in endothelial cells of the heart, liver, and tongue. Consensus primer polymerase chain reaction combined with sequencing yielded molecular evidence that confirmed the presence of two novel but related herpesviruses associated with the disease, one in Asian elephants and another in African elephants. Otherwise healthy African elephants with external herpetic lesions yielded herpesvirus sequences identical to that found in Asian elephants with endothelial disease. This finding suggests that the Asian elephant deaths were caused by cross-species infection with a herpesvirus that is naturally latent in, but normally not lethal to, African elephants. A reciprocal relationship may exist for the African elephant disease. (+info)
Endothelial cells modulate the proliferation of mural cell precursors via platelet-derived growth factor-BB and heterotypic cell contact.
Embryological data suggest that endothelial cells (ECs) direct the recruitment and differentiation of mural cell precursors. We have developed in vitro coculture systems to model some of these events and have shown that ECs direct the migration of undifferentiated mesenchymal cells (10T1/2 cells) and induce their differentiation toward a smooth muscle cell/pericyte lineage. The present study was undertaken to investigate cell proliferation in these cocultures. ECs and 10T1/2 cells were cocultured in an underagarose assay in the absence of contact. There was a 2-fold increase in bromodeoxyuridine labeling of 10T1/2 cells in response to ECs, which was completely inhibited by the inclusion of neutralizing antiserum against platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-B. Antisera against PDGF-A, basic fibroblast growth factor, or transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta had no effect on EC-stimulated 10T1/2 cell proliferation. EC proliferation was not influenced by coculture with 10T1/2 cells in the absence of contact. The cells were then cocultured so that contact was permitted. Double labeling and fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis revealed that ECs and 10T1/2 cells were growth-inhibited by 43% and 47%, respectively. Conditioned media from contacting EC-10T1/2 cell cocultures inhibited the growth of both cell types by 61% and 48%, respectively. Although we have previously shown a role for TGF-beta in coculture-induced mural cell differentiation, growth inhibition resulting from contacting cocultures or conditioned media was not suppressed by the presence of neutralizing antiserum against TGF-beta. Furthermore, the decreased proliferation of 10T1/2 cells in the direct cocultures could not be attributed to downregulation of the PDGF-B in ECs or the PDGF receptor-beta in the 10T1/2 cells. Our data suggest that modulation of proliferation occurs during EC recruitment of mesenchymal cells and that heterotypic cell-cell contact and soluble factors play a role in growth control during vessel assembly. (+info)