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Concept: Angiogenesis


Endothelial hyperpermeability induced by hyperglycemia is the initial step in the development of atherosclerosis, one of the most serious cardiovascular complications in diabetes. In the present study, we investigated the effects of resveratrol (RSV), a bioactive ingredient extracted from Chinese herb rhizoma polygonum cuspidatum, on permeability in vitro and the molecular mechanisms involved. Permeability was assessed by the efflux of fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-dextran permeated through the monolayer endothelial cells (ECs). The mRNA levels, protein expressions, and secretions were measured by quantitative real-time PCR, western blot, and ELISA, respectively. Increased permeability and caveolin-1 (cav-1) expression were observed in monolayer ECs exposed to high glucose. Resveratrol treatment alleviated the hyperpermeability and the overexpression of cav-1 induced by high glucose in a dose-dependent manner. β-Cyclodextrin, a structural inhibitor of caveolae, reduced the hyperpermeability caused by high glucose. Resveratrol also down-regulated the increased expressions of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and kinase insert domain receptor (KDR, or VEGF receptor-2) induced by high glucose. Inhibition of VEGF/KDR pathway by using SU5416, a selective inhibitor of KDR, alleviated the hyperpermeability and the cav-1 overexpression induced by high glucose. The above results demonstrate that RSV ameliorates caveolae-mediated hyperpermeability induced by high glucose via VEGF/KDR pathway.

Concepts: Protein, Gene expression, Molecular biology, Signal transduction, Enzyme, Angiogenesis, Vascular endothelial growth factor, Endothelium


Silver nanoparticles supported on nanoscale silicate platelets (AgNP/NSP) possess interesting properties, including a large surface area and high biocide effectiveness. The nanohybrid of AgNP/NSP at a weight ratio 7/93 contains 5-nm Ag particles supported on the surface of platelets with dimensions of approximately 80×80×1 nm(3). The nanohybrid expresses a trend of lower cytotoxicity at the concentration of 8.75 ppm Ag and low genotoxicity. Compared with conventional silver ions and the organically dispersed AgNPs, the nanohybrid promotes wound healing. We investigated overall wound healing by using acute burn and excision wound healing models. Tests on both infected wound models of mice were compared among the AgNP/NSP, polymer-dispersed AgNPs, the commercially available Aquacel, and silver sulfadiazine. The AgNP/NSP nanohybrid was superior for wound appearance, but had similar wound healing rates, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A levels and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 expressions to Aquacel and silver sulfadiazine.

Concepts: Wound healing, Angiogenesis, Coagulation, Platelet, Nanotechnology, Silver, Surface area


Despite a general repression of translation under hypoxia, cells selectively upregulate a set of hypoxia-inducible genes. Results from deep sequencing revealed that Let-7 and miR-103/107 are hypoxia-responsive microRNAs (HRMs) that are strongly induced in vascular endothelial cells. In silico bioinformatics and in vitro validation showed that these HRMs are induced by HIF1α and target argonaute 1 (AGO1), which anchors the microRNA-induced silencing complex (miRISC). HRM targeting of AGO1 resulted in the translational desuppression of VEGF mRNA. Inhibition of HRM or overexpression of AGO1 without the 3' untranslated region decreased hypoxia-induced angiogenesis. Conversely, AGO1 knockdown increased angiogenesis under normoxia in vivo. In addition, data from tumor xenografts and human cancer specimens indicate that AGO1-mediated translational desuppression of VEGF may be associated with tumor angiogenesis and poor prognosis. These findings provide evidence for an angiogenic pathway involving HRMs that target AGO1 and suggest that this pathway may be a suitable target for anti- or proangiogenesis strategies.

Concepts: DNA, Gene expression, RNA, Angiogenesis, MicroRNA, In vivo, Endothelium, In vitro


Tetraspanins have emerged as key players in malignancy and inflammatory diseases, yet little is known about their roles in angiogenesis, and nothing about their involvement in lymphangiogenesis. We here found that tetraspanins are abundantly expressed in human lymphatic endothelial cells (LEC) and tumor LECs. After intrathoracic tumor implantation, metastasis to lymph nodes was diminished and accompanied by decreased angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in tetraspanin CD9 Knockout (KO) mice. Moreover, lymphangiomas induced in CD9-KO mice were less pronounced with decreased lymphangiogenesis when compared with wild-type mice. While mouse LEC isolated from CD9-KO mice showed normal adhesion, lymphangiogenesis was markedly impaired in several assays (migration, proliferation, and cable formation) in vitro, and in the lymphatic ring assay ex vivo. Consistent with these findings in mouse LEC, knocking down of CD9 in human LEC also showed decreased migration, proliferation, and cable formation. Immunoprecipitation analysis demonstrated that deletion of CD9 in LEC diminished functional complexes between vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-3, and integrins (α5 and α9). Therefore, knocking down of CD9 in LEC attenuated VEGFR-3 signaling as well as down-stream signaling such as Erk, and p38 upon VEGF-C stimulation. Finally, double-deletion of CD9/CD81 in mice exhibited abnormal development of lymphatic vasculature in the trachea and diaphragm, suggesting that CD9 and a closely related tetraspanin CD81 coordinately play an essential role in physiological lymphangiogenesis. In conclusion, tetraspanin CD9 modulate molecular organization of integrins in LEC, thereby supporting several functions required for lymphangiogenesis.

Concepts: Inflammation, Angiogenesis, Blood vessel, Vascular endothelial growth factor, In vivo, Lymphatic system, In vitro, CD9


Neuropilin (Nrp) receptors function as essential cell surface receptors for the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) family of proangiogenic cytokines and the semaphorin 3 (Sema3) family of axon guidance molecules. There are two Nrp homologues, Nrp1 and Nrp2, which bind to both overlapping and distinct members of the VEGF and Sema3 family of molecules. Nrp1 specifically binds the VEGF-A(164/5) isoform, which is essential for developmental angiogenesis. We demonstrate that VEGF-A specific binding is governed by Nrp1 residues in the b1 coagulation factor domain surrounding the invariant Nrp C-terminal arginine binding pocket. Further, we show that Sema3F does not display the Nrp-specific binding to the b1 domain seen with VEGF-A. Engineered soluble Nrp receptor fragments that selectively sequester ligands from the active signaling complex are an attractive modality for selectively blocking the angiogenic and chemorepulsive functions of Nrp ligands. Utilizing the information on Nrp ligand binding specificity, we demonstrate Nrp constructs that specifically sequester Sema3 in the presence of VEGF-A. This establishes that unique mechanisms are used by Nrp receptors to mediate specific ligand binding and that these differences can be exploited to engineer soluble Nrp receptors with specificity for Sema3.

Concepts: Signal transduction, Angiogenesis, Hormone, Vascular endothelial growth factor, Cell signaling, Endothelium, Neuropilin, Semaphorin


Tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) while originally characterized as inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have recently been shown to have a wide range of functions that are independent of their MMP inhibitory properties. Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-3 (TIMP-3) is a potent inhibitor of VEGF-mediated angiogenesis and neovascularization through its ability to block the binding of VEGF to its receptor VEGFR-2. To identify and characterize the anti-angiogenic domain of TIMP-3, structure function analyses and synthetic peptide studies were performed using VEGF-mediated receptor binding, signaling, migration and proliferation. In addition, the ability of TIMP-3 peptides to inhibit CNV in a mouse model was evaluated. We demonstrate that the anti-angiogenic property resides in the COOH-terminal domain of TIMP-3 protein which can block the binding of VEGF specifically to its receptor VEGFR-2, but not to VEGFR-1 similar to the full-length wild-type protein. Synthetic peptides corresponding to putative loop 6 and tail region of TIMP-3 have anti-angiogenic properties as determined by inhibition of VEGF binding to VEGFR-2, VEGF-induced phosphorylation of VEGFR-2 and downstream signaling pathways as well as endothelial cell proliferation and migration in response to VEGF. In addition, we show that intravitreal administration of TIMP-3 peptide could inhibit the size of laser-induced choroidal neovascularization lesions in mice. Thus, we have identified TIMP-3 peptides to be efficient inhibitors of angiogenesis and have a potential to be used therapeutically in diseases with increased neovascularization.

Concepts: Protein, Signal transduction, Angiogenesis, Peptide, Enzyme inhibitor, Inhibitor, Matrix metalloproteinase, Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases


LY2228820 dimesylate is a highly selective small molecule inhibitor of p38α and p38β mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPKs) that is currently under clinical investigation for human malignancies. p38 MAPK is implicated in a wide range of biological processes, in particular those that support tumorigenesis. One such process, angiogenesis, is required for tumor growth and metastasis, and many new cancer therapies are therefore directed against the tumor vasculature. Using an in vitro co-culture endothelial cord formation assay, a surrogate of angiogenesis, we investigated the role of p38 MAPK in growth factor and tumor-driven angiogenesis using LY2228820 dimesylate treatment and by shRNA gene knockdown. p38 MAPK was activated in endothelial cells upon growth factor stimulation with inhibition by LY2228820 dimesylate treatment causing a significant decrease in VEGF, bFGF, EGF, and IL-6 induced endothelial cord formation and an even more dramatic decrease in tumor-driven cord formation. In addition to involvement in downstream cytokine signaling, p38 MAPK was important for VEGF, bFGF, EGF, IL-6 and other proangiogenic cytokine secretion in stromal and tumor cells. LY2228820 dimesylate results were substantiated using p38α MAPK specific shRNA and shRNA against the downstream p38 MAPK effectors MAPKAPK-2 and HSP27. Using in vivo models of functional neoangiogenesis, LY2228820 dimesylate treatment reduced hemoglobin content in a plug assay and decreased VEGF-A stimulated vascularization in a mouse ear model. Thus, p38α MAPK is implicated in tumor angiogenesis through direct tumoral effects and through reduction of proangiogenic cytokine secretion via the microenvironment.

Concepts: Cancer, Signal transduction, Angiogenesis, Enzyme inhibitor, Mitogen-activated protein kinase, Protein kinases, P38 mitogen-activated protein kinases, Mitogen


Marine natural products (MNPs) are recognized for their structural complexity, diversity, and novelty. The vast majority of MNPs are pharmacologically relevant through their ability to modulate macromolecular targets underlying human diseases. Angiogenesis is a fundamental process in cancer progression and metastasis. Targeting angiogenesis through selective modulation of linked protein kinases is a valid strategy to discover novel effective tumor growth and metastasis inhibitors. An in-house marine natural products mini-library, which comprises diverse MNP entities, was submitted to the Lilly’s Open Innovation Drug Discovery platform. Accepted structures were subjected to in vitro screening to discover mechanistically novel angiogenesis inhibitors. Active hits were subjected to additional angiogenesis-targeted kinase profiling. Some natural and semisynthetic MNPs, including multiple members of the macrolide latrunculins, the macrocyclic oxaquinolizidine alkaloid araguspongine C, and the sesquiterpene quinone puupehenone, showed promising results in primary and secondary angiogenesis screening modules. These hits inhibited vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-mediated endothelial tube-like formation, with minimal cytotoxicity at relevant doses. Secondary kinase profiling identified six target protein kinases, all involved in angiogenesis signaling pathways. Molecular modeling and docking experiments aided the understanding of molecular binding interactions, identification of pharmacophoric epitopes, and deriving structure-activity relationships of active hits. Marine natural products are prolific resources for the discovery of chemically and mechanistically unique selective antiangiogenic scaffolds.

Concepts: Cancer, Signal transduction, Angiogenesis, Drug discovery, Medicinal chemistry, Natural products


Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1α) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are proteins that stimulate the proliferation and migration of endothelial cells. These proteins have been described in many pathologic and inflammatory conditions, but their involvement in the development of periodontitis has not been thoroughly investigated. This study compared the immunohistochemical expression of these proteins, involved in angiogenesis and hypoxia, by imunnostained inflammatory and endothelial cells in periodontal disease and healthy gingival tissues. Gingival tissue samples were divided as follows: 30 samples with chronic periodontitis, 30 with chronic gingivitis, and 30 of healthy gingiva. Results were analyzed statistically by the Kruskal-Wallis, Mann-Whitney and Spearman correlation tests (p=0.01). Inflammatory and endothelial cells were found to express these proteins. Periodontitis showed median percentage of HIF-1α-positive cells of 39.6%, 22.0% in cases of gingivitis and 0.9% in the healthy gingiva group (p=0.001). For VEGF, median percentage of immunopositive cells was 68.7% for periodontitis, 66.1% in cases for gingivitis, and 19.2% for healthy gingival specimens (p<0.001). Significant correlation between VEGF and HIF-1α was also observed in healthy gingiva (p<0.001).The increased expression of HIF-1αα and VEGF in periodontitis, compared to gingivitis and healthy gingiva, suggests possible activation of the HIF-1α pathway in advanced periodontal disease. The correlation between HIF-1α and VEGF expression in healthy gingiva suggests a physiological function for these proteins in conditions of homeostasis. In periodontal disease, HIF-1 and VEGF expression may be regulated by other factors, in addition to hypoxia, such as bacterial endotoxins and inflammatory cytokines.

Concepts: Angiogenesis, Periodontology, Gingiva, Periodontitis, Periodontal disease, Oral hygiene, Gingivitis, Gingival fibers


Immunotherapy has produced durable clinical benefit in patients with metastatic renal cell cancer (RCC). In the past, patients treated with interferon-alpha (IFN) and interleukin-2 (IL-2) have achieved complete responses, many of which have lasted for multiple decades. More recently, a large number of new agents have been approved for RCC, several of which attack tumor angiogenesis by inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF) and VEGF receptors (VEGFR), as well as tumor metabolism, inhibiting the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Additionally, a new class of immunotherapy agents, immune checkpoint inhibitors, is emerging and will play a significant role in the treatment of patients with RCC. Therefore, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) convened a Task Force, which met to consider the current role of approved immunotherapy agents in RCC, to provide guidance to practicing clinicians by developing consensus recommendations and to set the stage for future immunotherapeutic developments in RCC.

Concepts: Immune system, Cancer, Angiogenesis, Vascular endothelial growth factor, Interferon, VEGF receptors, Renal cell carcinoma, Immunotherapy