Angiopoietin-1/Tie-2 activation contributes to vascular survival and tumor growth during VEGF blockade.
ABSTRACT: Approval of the anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) antibody bevacizumab by the FDA in 2004 reflected the success of this vascular targeting strategy in extending survival in patients with advanced cancers. However, consistent with previous reports that experimental tumors can grow or recur during VEGF blockade, it has become clear that many patients treated with VEGF inhibitors will ultimately develop progressive disease. Previous studies have shown that disruption of VEGF signaling in tumors induces remodeling in surviving vessels, and link increased expression of angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) with this process. However, overexpression of Ang-1 in different tumors has yielded divergent results, restricting angiogenesis in some systems while promoting it in others. These data raise the possibility that effects of Ang-1/Tie-2 may be context-dependent. Expression of an Ang-1 construct (Ang1*) did not significantly change tumor growth in our model prior to treatment, although vessels exhibited changes consistent with increased Tie-2 signaling. During inhibition of VEGF, however, both overexpression of Ang1* and administration of an engineered Ang-1 agonist (Bow-Ang1) strikingly protected tumors and vasculature from regression. In this context, Ang-1/Tie-2 activation limited tumor hypoxia, increased vessel caliber, and promoted recruitment of mural cells. Thus, these studies support a model in which activation of Tie-2 is important for tumor and vessel survival when VEGF-dependent vasculature is stressed. Understanding such mechanisms of adaptation to this validated form of therapy may be important in designing regimens that make the best use of this approach.
Project description:The angiopoietin (Ang)-Tie pathway is essential for the proper maturation and remodeling of the vasculature. Despite its importance in disease, the mechanisms that control signal transduction through this pathway are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycans (HS GAGs) regulate Ang-Tie signaling through direct interactions with both Ang ligands and Tie1 receptors. HS GAGs formed ternary complexes with Ang1 or Ang4 and Tie2 receptors, resulting in potentiation of endothelial survival signaling. In addition, HS GAGs served as ligands for the orphan receptor Tie1. The HS-Tie1 interaction promoted Tie1-Tie2 heterodimerization and enhanced Tie1 stability within the mature vasculature. Loss of HS-Tie1 binding using CRISPR-Cas9-mediated mutagenesis in vivo led to decreased Tie protein levels, pathway suppression and aberrant retinal vascularization. Together, these results reveal that sulfated glycans use dual mechanisms to regulate Ang-Tie signaling and are important for the development and maintenance of the vasculature.
Project description:The endothelial TIE1 and TIE2 receptor tyrosine kinases form a distinct subfamily characterized by their unique extracellular domains. Together with the angiopoietin growth factors (ANGPT1, ANGPT2, ANGPT4, also abbreviated as ANG), the TIE receptors form an endothelial specific signaling pathway with important functions in the regulation of lymphatic and cardiovascular development and vascular homeostasis. Angiopoietins exist in multimeric forms that activate the TIE receptors via unique mechanism. In endothelial cell–cell contacts, angiopoietins induce the formation of homomeric in trans TIE receptor complexes extending across the cell junctions, whereas matrix-bound angiopoietin-1 (ANG1) activates the TIE receptors in a cis configuration. In comparison to the vascular endothelial growth factor receptors, the TIE receptors undergo little ubiquitin-mediated degradation after activation, whereas TIE2 signaling is negatively regulated by the vascular endothelial protein tyrosine phosphatase, VE-PTP. ANG1 activation of TIE2 supports vascular stabilization, whereas angiopoietin-2 (ANG2), a context-dependent weak TIE2 agonist/antagonist, promotes pathological tumor angiogenesis, vascular permeability, and inflammation. Recently, ANG2 has been found to mediate some of its vascular destabilizing and angiogenic functions via integrin signalling. The circulating levels of ANG2 are increased in cancer, and in several human diseases associated with inflammation and vascular leak, for example, in sepsis. Blocking of ANG2 has emerged as a potential novel therapeutic strategy for these diseases. In addition, preclinical results demonstrate that genetic TIE1 deletion in mice inhibits the vascularization and growth of tumor isografts and protects from atherosclerosis, with little effect on normal vascular homeostasis in adult mice. The ability of the ANG-TIE pathway to control vessel stability and angiogenesis makes it an interesting vascular target for the treatment of the various diseases.
Project description:Molecular mechanisms regulating the remodeling of the lymphatic vasculature from an immature plexus of vessels to a hierarchal network of initial and collecting lymphatics are not well understood. One gene thought to be important for this process is Angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2). Ang2(-/-) mice have previously been reported to exhibit an abnormal lymphatic phenotype but the precise nature of the lymphatic defects and the underlying mechanisms have yet to be defined. Here we demonstrate by whole-mount immunofluorescence staining of ear skin and mesentery that lymphatic vessels in Ang2(-/-) mice fail to mature and do not exhibit a collecting vessel phenotype. Furthermore, dermal lymphatic vessels in Ang2(-/-) pups prematurely recruit smooth muscle cells and do not undergo proper postnatal remodeling. In contrast, Ang2 knock-out Ang1 knock-in mice do develop a hierarchal lymphatic vasculature, suggesting that activation of Tie-2 is required for normal lymphatic development. Taken together, this work pinpoints a specific lymphatic defect of Ang2(-/-) mice and further defines the sequential steps in lymphatic vessel remodeling.
Project description:In brain tumors, cerebral edema is a significant source of morbidity and mortality. Recent studies have shown that inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling induces transient vascular normalization and reduces cerebral edema, resulting in a modest survival benefit in glioblastoma patients. During anti-VEGF treatment, circulating levels of angiopoietin (Ang)-2 remained high after an initial minor reduction. It is not known, however, whether Ang-2 can modulate anti-VEGF treatment of glioblastoma. Here, we used an orthotopic glioma model to test the hypothesis that Ang-2 is an additional target for improving the efficacy of current anti-VEGF therapies in glioma patients.To recapitulate high levels of Ang-2 in glioblastoma patients during anti-VEGF treatment, Ang-2 was ectopically expressed in U87 glioma cells. Animal survival and tumor growth were assessed to determine the effects of Ang-2 and anti-VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) treatment. We also monitored morphologic and functional vascular changes using multiphoton laser scanning microscopy and immunohistochemistry.Ectopic expression of Ang-2 had no effect on vascular permeability, tumor growth, or survival, although it resulted in higher vascular density, with dilated vessels and reduced mural cell coverage. On the other hand, when combined with anti-VEGFR2 treatment, Ang-2 destabilized vessels without affecting vessel regression and compromised the survival benefit of VEGFR2 inhibition by increasing vascular permeability. VEGFR2 inhibition normalized tumor vasculature whereas ectopic expression of Ang-2 diminished the beneficial effects of VEGFR2 blockade by inhibiting vessel normalization.Cancer treatment regimens combining anti-VEGF and anti-Ang-2 agents may be an effective strategy to improve the efficacy of current anti-VEGF therapies.
Project description:<h4>Aims</h4>Changes in the islet vasculature have been implicated in the regulation of ?-cell survival and function during the progression to type 2 diabetes (T2D). Failure of the ?-cell to compensate for the increased insulin demand in obesity eventually leads to diabetes; as a result of the complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors (e.g. ongoing inflammation within the islets) and impaired vascular function. The Angiopoietin/Tie (Ang/Tie) angiogenic system maintains vasculature and is closely related to organ inflammation and angiogenesis. In this study we aimed to identify whether the vessel area within the islets changes in diabetes and whether such changes would be triggered by the Tie-antagonist Ang-2.<h4>Methods</h4>Immunohistochemical and qPCR analyses to follow islet vascularization and Ang/Tie levels were performed in human pancreatic autopsies and isolated human and mouse islets. The effect of Ang-2 was assessed in ?-cell-specific Ang-2 overexpressing mice during high fat diet (HFD) feeding.<h4>Results</h4>Islet vessel area was increased in autopsy pancreases from patients with T2D. The vessel markers Tie-1, Tie-2 and CD31 were upregulated in mouse islets upon HFD feeding from 8 to 24 weeks. Ang-2 was transiently upregulated in mouse islets at 8 weeks of HFD and under glucolipotoxic conditions (22.2 mM glucose/ 0.5 mM palmitate) in vitro in human and mouse islets, in contrast to its downregulation by cytokines (IL-1?, IFN-? and TNF-?). Ang-1 on the other hand was oppositely regulated, with a significant loss under glucolipotoxic condition, a trend to reduce in islets from patients with T2D and an upregulation by cytokines. Modulation of such changes in Ang-2 by its overexpression or the inhibition of its receptor Tie-2 impaired ?-cell function at basal conditions but protected islets from cytokine induced apoptosis. In vivo, ?-cell-specific Ang-2 overexpression in mice induced hypervascularization under normal diet but contrastingly led to hypovascularized islets in response to HFD together with increased apoptosis and reduced ?-cell mass.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Islet hypervascularization occurs in T2D. A balanced expression of the Ang1/Ang2 system is important for islet physiology. Ang-2 prevents ?-cell mass and islet vascular adaptation in response to HFD feeding with no major influence on glucose homeostasis.
Project description:The angiopoietin (Ang) ligands are potential therapeutic targets for lymphatic related diseases, which include lymphedema and cancer. Ang-1 and Ang-2 functions are established, but those of Ang-4 are poorly understood. We used intravital fluorescence microscopy to characterize Ang-4 actions on T241 murine fibrosarcoma-associated vessels in mice. The diameters of lymphatic vessels draining Ang-4- or VEGF-C (positive control)-expressing tumors increased to 123 and 135 ?m, respectively, and parental, mock-transduced (negative controls) and tumors expressing Ang-1 or Ang-2 remained at baseline (?60 ?m). Ang-4 decreased human dermal lymphatic endothelial cell (LEC) monolayer permeability by 27% while increasing human dermal blood endothelial cell (BEC) monolayer permeability by 200%. In vivo, Ang-4 stimulated a 4.5-fold increase in tumor-associated blood vessel permeability compared with control when measured using intravital quantitative multiphoton microscopy. Ang-4 activated receptor signaling in both LECs and BECs, evidenced by tyrosine kinase with Ig and endothelial growth factor homology domains-2 (TIE2) receptor, protein kinase B, and Erk1,2 phosphorylation detectable by immunoblotting. These data suggest that Ang-4 actions are mediated through cell-type-specific networks and that lymphatic vessel dilation occurs secondarily to increased vascular leakage. Ang-4 also promoted survival of LECs. Thus, blocking Ang-4 may prune the draining lymphatic vasculature and decrease interstitial fluid pressure (IFP) by reducing vascular permeability.
Project description:The aim of this study was to determine the association of dietary folate and cobalamin with plasma levels of Angiopoietins (ANG), vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C) and tyrosine kinase receptor-2 (Tie-2) of primary breast cancer patients. Women (n = 177), aged 30 to 75 years diagnosed with breast cancer were recruited from an ongoing case series study. Dietary intake of nutrients was estimated by using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was applied to measure biomarkers. MCF-7 cell cultures were supplemented with folic acid (0-40 μM) for 24 h to measure cell viability and fold change of expression by the real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Structural equation modeling was applied to analyze the structural relationships between the measured variables of nutrients and Angiopoietins. Dietary intake of folate and cobalamin showed a significant inverse correlation with plasma ANG-1 and ANG-2 (P < 0.05), particularly in subjects with estrogen-receptor positive tumors or low plasma VEGF-C. Plasma folate was positively associated with the ratio of ANG-1/ANG-2 (P < 0.05). Residual intake levels of total cobalamin were inversely associated with plasma ANG-1 when plasma stratum of VEGF-C was high (P < 0.05). Structural equation modeling identified a significant inverse contribution of folate profiles on the latent variable of Angiopoietins (coefficient β = -0.99, P < 0.05). Folic acid treatment resulted in dose-dependent down-regulations on ANGPT1 and ANGPT1/ANGPT2 ratio but VEGF and ANGPT2/VEGF were upregulated at folic acid >20 μM. Studying the contributing role of dietary folate to pro-angiogenic biomarkers in breast cancer patients can infer the preventive role of folate in the ANGs/VEGF-C-dependent cascade of tumor metastasis. By contrast, high concentrations of folic acid in vitro supported VEGF-C-dependent ANGPT2 overexpression might potentiate micro-lymphatic vessel development to support malignant cell dissemination.
Project description:The critical role of angiogenesis in tumor development makes its inhibition a valuable new approach in therapy, rapidly making anti-angiogenesis a major focus in research. While the VEGF/VEGFR pathway is the main target of the approved anti-angiogenic molecules in NSCLC treatment, the results obtained are still modest, especially due to resistance mechanisms. Accumulating scientific data show that vessel co-option is an alternative mechanism to angiogenesis during tumor development in well-vascularized organs such as the lungs, where tumor cells highjack the existing vasculature to obtain its blood supply in a non-angiogenic fashion. This can explain the low/lack of response to current anti-angiogenic strategies. The same principle applies to lung metastases of other primary tumors. The exact mechanisms of vessel co-option need to be further elucidated, but it is known that the co-opted vessels regress by the action of Angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2), a vessel destabilizing cytokine expressed by the endothelial cells of the pre-existing mature vessels. In the absence of VEGF, vessel regression leads to tumor cell loss and hypoxia, with a subsequent switch to a neoangiogenic phenotype by the remaining tumor cells. Unravelling the vessel co-option mechanisms and involved players may be fruitful for numerous reasons, and the particularities of this form of vascularization should be carefully considered when planning anti-angiogenic interventions or designing clinical trials for this purpose. In view of the current knowledge, rationale for therapeutic approaches of dual inhibition of Ang-2 and VEGF are swiftly gaining strength and may serve as a launchpad to more successful NSCLC anti-vascular treatments.
Project description:Tumor blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) is essential for tumor growth and metastasis. Two main endothelial ligand–receptor pathways regulating angiogenesis are vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor and angiopoietin-TIE receptor pathways. The angiopoietin-TIE pathway is required for the remodeling and maturation of the blood and lymphatic vessels during embryonic development after VEGF and VEGF-C mediated development of the primary vascular plexus. Angiopoietin-1 (ANGPT1) stabilizes the vasculature after angiogenic processes, via tyrosine kinase with immunoglobulin-like and EGF-like domains 2 (TIE2) activation. In contrast, ANGPT2 is upregulated at sites of vascular remodeling. ANGPT2 is secreted by activated endothelial cells in inflammation, promoting vascular destabilization. ANGPT2 has been found to be expressed in many human cancers. Intriguingly, in preclinical models inhibition of ANGPT2 has provided promising results in preventing tumor angiogenesis, tumor growth, and metastasis, making it an attractive candidate to target in tumors. However, until now the first ANGPT2 targeting therapies have been less effective in clinical trials than in experimental models. Additionally, in preclinical models combined therapy against ANGPT2 and VEGF or immune checkpoint inhibitors has been superior to monotherapies, and these pathways are also targeted in early clinical trials. In order to improve current anti-angiogenic therapies and successfully exploit ANGPT2 as a target for cancer treatment, the biology of the angiopoietin-TIE pathway needs to be profoundly clarified.
Project description:Angiopoietin/tyrosine protein kinase receptor Tie-2 signaling in endothelial cells plays an essential role in angiogenesis and wound healing. Angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) is crucial for blood vessel maturation while angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2), in collaboration with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), initiates angiogenesis by destabilizing existing blood vessels. In healthy people, the Ang-1 level is sustained while Ang-2 expression is restricted. In cancer patients, Ang-2 level is elevated, which correlates with poor prognosis. Ang-2 not only drives tumor angiogenesis but also attracts infiltration of myeloid cells. The latter rapidly differentiate into tumor stromal cells that foster tumor angiogenesis and progression, and weaken the host's anti-tumor immunity. Moreover, through integrin signaling, Ang-2 induces expression of matrix metallopeptidases (MMPs) to promote tumor cell invasion and metastasis. Many oncogenic viruses induce expression of Ang-2 to promote development of neoplasia associated with viral infection. Multiple Ang-2 inhibitors exhibit remarkable anti-tumor activities, further highlighting the importance of Ang-2 in cancer development.