Overexpression of angiopoietin-2 impairs myocardial angiogenesis and exacerbates cardiac fibrosis in the diabetic db/db mouse model.

Chen JX, Zeng H, Reese J, Aschner JL, Meyrick B
Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2012 302 (4): H1003-12

PMID: 22180648 · PMCID: PMC3322731 · DOI:10.1152/ajpheart.00866.2011

The angiopoietins/Tie-2 system is essential for the maintenance of vascular integrity and angiogenesis. The functional role of angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) in the regulation of angiogenesis is dependent on other growth factors such as VEGF and a given physiopathological conditions. This study investigates the potential role of Ang-2 in myocardial angiogenesis and fibrosis formation in the diabetic db/db mouse. Diabetic db/db mice received intramyocardial administration of either adenovirus Ang-2 (Ad-CMV-Ang-2) or Ad-β-gal. The levels of Tie-2, VEGF, caspase-3, Wnt7b, fibroblast-specific protein-1 (FSP-1), and adhesion molecules (ICAM-1 and VCAM-1) expression were measured. Apoptosis, capillary density, and cardiac fibrosis were also analyzed in the db/db mouse hearts. Overexpression of Ang-2 suppressed Tie-2 and VEGF expression in db/db mouse hearts together with significant upregulation of Wnt7b expression. Overexpression of Ang-2 also sensitizes ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression in db/db mouse hearts. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that overexpression of Ang-2 resulted in a gradual apoptosis as well as interstitial fibrosis formation, these leading to a significant loss of capillary density. Data from these studies were confirmed in cultured mouse heart microvascular endothelial cells (MHMEC) exposed to excessive Ang-2. Exposure of MHMEC to Ang-2 resulted in increased caspase-3 activity and endothelial apoptosis. Knockdown of Ang-2 attenuated high glucose-induced endothelial cell apoptosis. Further, counterbalance of Ang-2 by overexpression of Ang-1 reversed loss of capillary density and fibrosis formation in db/db mouse hearts. Our data demonstrate that Ang-2 increases endothelial apoptosis, sensitizes myocardial microvascular inflammation, and promotes cardiac fibrosis and thus contributes to loss of capillary density in diabetic diseases.

MeSH Terms (22)

Angiopoietin-2 Animals Apoptosis Caspase 3 Cells, Cultured Coronary Vessels Diabetes Mellitus Disease Models, Animal Endothelium, Vascular Fibrosis Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 Male Mice Mice, Mutant Strains Myocardium Neovascularization, Pathologic Proto-Oncogene Proteins Receptor, TIE-2 Up-Regulation Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A Wnt Proteins

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