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BACKGROUND - The role of endothelial dysregulation with acute kidney injury (AKI) in critically ill patients is unclear.
METHODS - We retrospectively assessed the associations of AKI with biomarkers of endothelial function and inflammation among 948 subjects admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) at Harborview Medical Center (Seattle, WA, USA). From plasma obtained within 24 h of enrollment, we measured angiopoietin (Ang)-1 and Ang-2 alongside biomarkers of inflammation, including interleukin (IL)-6, IL-17 and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. We tested for associations between standardized concentrations of biomarkers and AKI, defined by serum creatinine, from ICU admission to up to 7 days later.
RESULTS - All biomarkers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction were associated with AKI. After adjustment for demographics, comorbidities, and IL-6 concentration, every standard deviation of Ang-1 concentration was associated with a 19 % lower risk of AKI (relative risk (RR) = 0.85, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.77-0.93, p < 0.001). Conversely, higher Ang-2 concentration was associated with higher risk of AKI (RR per standard deviation = 1.17, 95 % CI 1.13-1.22, p < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS - In critically ill patients, plasma concentration of the endothelial growth factors Ang-1 and Ang-2 are associated with AKI, independently of inflammation.
RATIONALE - Myocardial infarction causes irreversible tissue damage, leading to heart failure. We recently discovered that canonical Wnt signaling and the Wnt10b ligand are strongly induced in mouse hearts after infarction. Wnt10b regulates cell fate in various organs, but its role in the heart is unknown.
OBJECTIVE - To investigate the effect of Wnt10b gain-of-function on cardiac repair mechanisms and to assess its potential to improve ventricular function after injury.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Histological and molecular analyses showed that Wnt10b is expressed in cardiomyocytes and localized in the intercalated discs of mouse and human hearts. After coronary artery ligation or cryoinjury in mice, Wnt10b is strongly and transiently induced in peri-infarct cardiomyocytes during granulation tissue formation. To determine the effect of Wnt10b on neovascularization and fibrosis, we generated a mouse line to increase endogenous Wnt10b levels in cardiomyocytes. We found that gain of Wnt10b function orchestrated a recovery phenotype characterized by robust neovascularization of the injury zone, less myofibroblasts, reduced scar size, and improved ventricular function compared with wild-type mice. Wnt10b stimulated expression of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 in endothelial cells and angiopoietin-1 in vascular smooth muscle cells through nuclear factor-κB activation. These effects coordinated endothelial growth and smooth muscle cell recruitment, promoting robust formation of large, coronary-like blood vessels.
CONCLUSION - Wnt10b gain-of-function coordinates arterial formation and attenuates fibrosis in cardiac tissue after injury. Because generation of mature blood vessels is necessary for efficient perfusion, our findings could lead to novel strategies to optimize the inherent repair capacity of the heart and prevent the onset of heart failure.
© 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.
There is a reciprocal interaction between pancreatic islet cells and vascular endothelial cells (EC) in which EC-derived signals promote islet cell differentiation and islet development while islet cell-derived angiogenic factors promote EC recruitment and extensive islet vascularization. To examine the role of angiogenic factors in the coordinated development of islets and their associated vessels, we used a "tet-on" inducible system (mice expressing rat insulin promoter-reverse tetracycline activator transgene and a tet-operon-angiogenic factor transgene) to increase the β cell production of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A), angiopoietin-1 (Ang1), or angiopoietin-2 (Ang2) during islet cell differentiation and islet development. In VEGF-A overexpressing embryos, ECs began to accumulate around epithelial tubes residing in the central region of the developing pancreas (associated with endocrine cells) as early as embryonic day 12.5 (E12.5) and increased dramatically by E16.5. While α and β cells formed islet cell clusters in control embryos at E16.5, the increased EC population perturbed endocrine cell differentiation and islet cell clustering in VEGF-A overexpressing embryos. With continued overexpression of VEGF-A, α and β cells became scattered, remained adjacent to ductal structures, and never coalesced into islets, resulting in a reduction in β cell proliferation and β cell mass at postnatal day 1. A similar impact on islet morphology was observed when VEGF-A was overexpressed in β cells during the postnatal period. In contrast, increased expression of Ang1 or Ang2 in β cells in developing or adult islets did not alter islet differentiation, development, or morphology, but altered islet EC ultrastructure. These data indicate that (1) increased EC number does not promote, but actually impairs β cell proliferation and islet formation; (2) the level of VEGF-A production by islet endocrine cells is critical for islet vascularization during development and postnatally; (3) angiopoietin-Tie2 signaling in endothelial cells does not have a crucial role in the development or maintenance of islet vascularization.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The expression of fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR)-1 correlates with angiogenesis and is associated with prostate cancer (CaP) progression. To more precisely define the molecular mechanisms whereby FGFR1 causes angiogenesis in the prostate we exploited a transgenic mouse model, JOCK-1, in which activation of a conditional FGFR1 allele in the prostate epithelium caused rapid angiogenesis and progressive hyperplasia. By labeling the vasculature in vivo and applying a novel method to measure the vasculature in three dimensions, we were able to observe a significant increase in vascular volume 1 week after FGFR1 activation. Although vessel volume and branching both continued to increase throughout a 6-week period of FGFR1 activation, importantly, we discovered that continued activation of FGFR1 was not required to maintain the new vasculature. Exploring the molecular mediators of the angiogenic phenotype, we observed consistent upregulation of HIF-1alpha, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and angiopoietin 2 (Ang-2), whereas expression of Ang-1 was lost. Further analysis revealed that loss of Ang-1 expression occurred in the basal epithelium, whereas the increase in Ang-2 expression occurred in the luminal epithelium. Reporter assays confirmed that the Ang-2 promoter was regulated by FGFR1 signaling and a small molecule inhibitor of FGFR activity, PD173074, could abrogate this response. These findings establish a method to follow spontaneous angiogenesis in a conditional autochthonous system, implicate the angiopoietins as downstream effectors of FGFR1 activation in vivo, and suggest that therapies targeting FGFR1 could be used to inhibit neovascularization during initiation and progression of CaP.
Both podocytes and glomerular endothelial cells (GEN) are postulated to play important roles in the progression and potential regression of glomerulosclerosis. Inhibition of angiotensin is crucial in treatment of chronic kidney disease, presumably via effects on BP and extracellular matrix. This study aimed to investigate how angiotensin inhibition altered the interactions between podocytes and GEN. The effects of supernatants from primary cultured mouse podocytes, before or after sublethal injury by puromycin aminonucleoside, in the presence or absence of angiotensin type 1 receptor blocker (ARB), on GEN sprouting and growth were assessed. Supernatant from normal podocytes significantly increased GEN sprouting, whereas puromycin aminonucleoside-injured podocyte supernatant decreased these GEN responses. These effects were linked to decreased vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) and angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) protein from injured podocytes. This downregulation of VEGF-A and Ang-1 protein was reversed when injured podocytes were treated with ARB. Inhibition of VEGF-A or Ang-1 prevented this restored response by ARB. Activation of intracellular kinases (p38, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, and AKT) was suppressed in GEN that were treated with medium from injured podocytes but restored by medium from ARB-treated injured podocytes. Therefore, injured podocytes are ineffective in promoting GEN sprouting, and this effect is reversed by ARB treatment of the injured podocyte. These data support the idea that ARB effects on podocytes may mediate capillary remodeling in vivo.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a central role in the pathogenesis of many cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis and hypertension. Endothelial NADPH oxidase is the major source of intracellular ROS. The present study investigated the role of endothelial NADPH oxidase-derived ROS in angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1)-induced angiogenesis. Exposure of porcine coronary artery endothelial cells (PCAECs) to Ang-1 (250 ng/ml) for periods up to 30 min led to a transient and dose-dependent increase in intracellular ROS. Thirty minutes of pretreatment with the NADPH oxidase inhibitors diphenylene iodinium (DPI, 10 microM) and apocynin (200 microM) suppressed Ang-1-stimulated ROS. Pretreatment with either DPI or apocynin also significantly attenuated Ang-1-induced Akt and p44/42 MAPK phosphorylation. In addition, inhibition of NADPH oxidase significantly suppressed Ang-1-induced endothelial cell migration and sprouting from endothelial spheroids. Using mouse heart microvascular endothelial cells from wild-type (WT) mice and mice deficient in the p47(phox) component of NADPH oxidase (p47(phox-/-)), we found that although Ang-1 stimulated intracellular ROS, Akt and p42/44 MAPK phosphorylation, and cell migration in WT cells, the responses were strikingly suppressed in cells from the p47(phox-/-) mice. Furthermore, exposure of aortic rings from p47(phox-/-) mice to Ang-1 demonstrated fewer vessel sprouts than WT mice. Inhibition of the Tie-2 receptor inhibited Ang-1-induced endothelial migration and vessel sprouting. Together, our data strongly suggest that endothelial NADPH oxidase-derived ROS play a critical role in Ang-1-induced angiogenesis.
Communication between endothelial cells (ECs) and mural cells is critical in vascular maturation. Genetic studies suggest that angiopoietin/Tie2 signaling may play a role in the recruitment of pericytes or smooth muscle cells (SMCs) during vascular maturation. However, the molecular mechanism is unclear. We used microarray technology to analyze genes regulated by angiopoietin-1 (Ang1), an agonist ligand for Tie2, in endothelial cells (ECs). We observed that hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), a mediator of mural cell motility, was up-regulated by Ang1 stimulation. We confirmed this finding by Northern blot and Western blot analyses in cultured vascular endothelial cells. Furthermore, stimulation of ECs with Ang1 increased SMC migration toward endothelial cells in a coculture assay. Addition of a neutralizing anti-HGF antibody inhibited Ang1-induced SMC recruitment, indicating that the induction of SMC migration by Ang1 was caused by the increase of HGF. Interestingly, Ang2, an antagonist ligand of Tie2, inhibited Ang1-induced HGF production and Ang1-induced SMC migration. Finally, we showed that deletion of Tie2 in transgenic mouse reduced HGF production. Collectively, our data reveal a novel mechanism of Ang/Tie2 signaling in regulating vascular maturation and suggest that a delicate balance between Ang1 and Ang2 is critical in this process.
Mounting evidence demonstrates that the formation of new blood vessels, termed angiogenesis, plays critical roles in human disease development and progression. Based on these findings, there has been a tremendous effort to investigate the molecular mechanisms that drive blood vessel growth in adult tissues. Compared to physiological angiogenesis, inflammation is often accompanied with pathological angiogenesis and often is the underlying causes of many diseases such as cancer, arthritis, atherosclerosis, and others. Inflammation induces angiogenesis and reciprocally, angiogenesis facilitate inflammation. A study of the interaction between angiogenesis and inflammation will enhance our understanding of the mechanisms of diseases. It may generate novel approaches for therapy. Tie2 was recently identified as a receptor tyrosine kinase expressed principally on vascular endothelium, making it an attractive molecular target for angiogenic therapy. This review discusses the regulation of Tie2 and its angiopoietin ligand family in inflammation-associated angiogenesis focusing on cancer, arthritis, and atherosclerosis. The complexity of angiogenesis and context-dependent regulation of angiopoietin/Tie2 signaling in angiogenesis requires further studies.
Tie2 and VEGF receptors (VEGFRs) are tyrosine kinases that play essential roles in angiogenesis. Activation of both receptors leads to the activation of Akt, an important mediator of cell survival and cell motility. In this study, we compared the role of Akt in Tie2-mediated versus VEGF-mediated endothelial cell (EC) survival and EC sprouting. Our data show that Akt is required and sufficient to mediate Ang1-induced EC survival in response to growth factor depletion. Blocking Akt function abolishes angiopoietin 1 (Ang1), a ligand for Tie2, mediated EC survival, and activating Akt rescues a Tie2 blockade-induced EC apoptosis. In contrast, activating Akt rescues EC apoptosis induced by a VEGF blockade, but interestingly, blocking Akt function has no effects on VEGF-induced EC survival, demonstrating that Akt is sufficient but not required for VEGF-mediated EC survival. In addition, we show that both Ang1 and VEGF induce EC sprouting in a three-dimensional collagen gel, which depends on the activation of Akt. Blocking Akt action inhibited EC sprouting induced by Ang1 or VEGF. Therefore, the data show that Akt is the primary mediator of Ang1-induced EC survival while multiple pathways are involved downstream of VEGF responsible for EC survival. However, Akt is required and sufficient to mediate the EC sprouting induced by both Ang1 and VEGF.
Inflammation and angiogenesis are associated with pathological disorders. TNF-alpha is a major inflammatory cytokine that also regulates angiogenesis. TNF-alpha has been shown to regulate Tie-2 and angiopoietin (Ang) expression, but the functional significance is less clear. In this study, we showed that TNF-alpha induced a weak angiogenic response in a mouse cornea assay. Systemic overexpression of Ang-1 or Ang-2 dramatically increased corneal angiogenesis induced by TNF-alpha. In the absence of TNF-alpha, neither Ang-1 nor Ang-2 promoted corneal angiogenesis. Low doses (0-25 ng/ml) of TNF-alpha increased vascular branch formation of cultured endothelial cells. Overexpression of Ang-1 or Ang-2 enhanced the effects of TNF-alpha. These data suggest that Tie-2 signaling synergistically amplifies and participates in TNF-alpha-mediated angiogenesis. In addition, high doses (>/=50 ng/ml) of TNF-alpha induced apoptosis in endothelial cells, but addition of Ang-1 or Ang-2 significantly reduced cell death. Enhanced endothelial cell survival was correlated with Akt phosphorylation. Collectively, our data reveal dual functional roles of Tie-2: low doses enhance TNF-alpha-induced angiogenesis, and high doses attenuate TNF-alpha-induced cell death. The study provides evidence supporting a role for Tie-2 in inflammatory angiogenesis.