ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE:MFG-E8 (also called lactadherin and SED1) is a secreted glycoprotein that has been previously implicated in enhancement of vascular endothelial growth factor-dependent angiogenesis. Major sources of MFG-E8 in vivo and precise mechanisms of MFG-E8 action remain undetermined. The objective of this study was to identify important sources of MFG-E8 in vivo and further elucidate the role(s) of MFG-E8 in the regulation of angiogenesis. METHODS AND RESULTS:We used knockout mice and anti-MFG-E8 antibodies to study MFG-E8 function in vivo. In melanomas and in retinas of mice with oxygen-induced retinopathy, MFG-E8 colocalized with pericytes rather than endothelial cells, and platelet-derived growth factor receptor ?+ pericytes/pericyte precursors purified from tumors contained large amounts of MFG-E8 mRNA. Tumor- and retinopathy-associated angiogenesis was diminished in MFG-E8 knockout mice, and pericyte coverage of neovessels was reduced. Inhibition of MFG-E8 production by 10T1/2 cells (surrogate pericyte/pericyte precursors) using small interfering RNAs and short hairpin RNAs, or inhibition of MFG-E8 action with some anti-MFG-E8 antibodies, selectively attenuated migration in vitro. Significantly, the anti-MFG-E8 antibodies that inhibited 10T1/2 cell migration in vitro also inhibited pathological angiogenesis in vivo. CONCLUSIONS:These studies strongly implicate MFG-E8 in pericyte/pericyte precursor function and indicate that MFG-E8-directed therapeutics may merit further development.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Pericytes/pericyte precursors produce milk fat globule-associated protein with epidermal growth factor and factor VIII-like domains (MFG-E8) in vivo, and this ?(v) integrin ligand enhances angiogenesis in tumors and in oxygen-induced retinopathy in mice. Inhibition of MFG-E8 production or function attenuates platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB)-induced migration of pericyte/pericyte precursor-like 10T1/2 cells in vitro. Herein, we describe mechanisms by which MFG-E8 modulates PDGF-BB:PDGF receptor ? (PDGFR?) signaling in 10T1/2 cells. METHODS AND RESULTS:Small interfering RNA depletion of MFG-E8 from 10T1/2 cells or antibody inhibition of MFG-E8 action enhanced PDGF-BB-dependent degradation of PDGFR? and attenuated signaling. Coimmunoprecipitation revealed transient association of MFG-E8 with PDGFR? in PDGF-BB-treated 10T1/2 cells and reduced PDGFR?-focal adhesion kinase association in MFG-E8-depleted cells. Confocal microscopy demonstrated that MFG-E8 binding to 10T1/2 cells was RGD motif and ?(v) dependent but PDGF-BB treatment independent, whereas colocalization of MFG-E8 with PDGFR? was enhanced by PDGF-BB. Ubiquitination of PDGFR? was also increased in MFG-E8 small interfering RNA-transfected cells. CONCLUSION:Integrin ?(v)-bound MFG-E8 associates with PDGFR? and focal adhesion kinase after PDGF-BB treatment, results in cell surface retention of PDGFR?, delays receptor degradation, potentiates downstream signaling, and enhances migration of 10T1/2 cells. MFG-E8 may promote angiogenesis, in part, via cell autonomous actions on pericytes or pericyte precursors that result in enhanced PDGF-BB:PDGFR? signaling mediated via integrin-growth factor receptor cross-talk.
Project description:Our research group recently demonstrated that pericytes are major sources of the secreted glycoprotein and integrin ligand lactadherin (MFG-E8) in B16 melanoma tumors, and that MFG-E8 promotes angiogenesis via enhanced PDGF-PDGFR? signaling mediated by integrin-growth factor receptor crosstalk. However, sources of MFG-E8 and its possible roles in skin physiology are not well characterized. The objective of this study was to characterize the involvement of MFG-E8 in skin wound healing. In the dermis of normal murine and human skin, accumulations of MFG-E8 were found around CD31(+) blood vessels, and MFG-E8 colocalized with PDGFR?(+), ?SMA(+), and NG2(+) pericytes. MFG-E8 protein and mRNA levels were elevated in the dermis during full-thickness wound healing in mice. MFG-E8 was diffusely present in granulation tissue and was localized around blood vessels. Wound healing was delayed in MFG-E8 knockout mice, compared with the wild type, and myofibroblast and vessel numbers in wound areas were significantly reduced in knockout mice. Inhibition of MFG-E8 production with siRNA attenuated the formation of capillary-like structures in vitro. Expression of MFG-E8 in fibrous human granulation tissue with scant blood vessels was less than that in granulation tissue with many blood vessels. These findings suggest that MFG-E8 promotes cutaneous wound healing by enhancing angiogenesis.
Project description:Milk fat globule epidermal growth factor-factor 8 (MFG-E8) is a peripheral glycoprotein that acts as a bridging molecule between the macrophage and apoptotic cells, thus executing a pivotal role in the scavenging of apoptotic cells from affected tissue. We have previously reported that apoptotic cell clearance activity or efferocytosis is compromised in diabetic wound macrophages. In this work, we test the hypothesis that MFG-E8 helps resolve inflammation, supports angiogenesis, and accelerates wound closure. MFG-E8(-/-) mice displayed impaired efferocytosis associated with exaggerated inflammatory response, poor angiogenesis, and wound closure. Wound macrophage-derived MFG-E8 was recognized as a critical driver of wound angiogenesis. Transplantation of MFG-E8(-/-) bone marrow to MFG-E8(+/+) mice resulted in impaired wound closure and compromised wound vascularization. In contrast, MFG-E8(-/-) mice that received wild-type bone marrow showed improved wound closure and improved wound vascularization. Hyperglycemia and exposure to advanced glycated end products inactivated MFG-E8, recognizing a key mechanism that complicates diabetic wound healing. Diabetic db/db mice suffered from impaired efferocytosis accompanied with persistent inflammation and slow wound closure. Topical recombinant MFG-E8 induced resolution of wound inflammation, improvements in angiogenesis, and acceleration of closure, upholding the potential of MFG-E8-directed therapeutics in diabetic wound care.
Project description:Pericytes are mural cells that surround capillaries and control angiogenesis and capillary barrier function. During sprouting angiogenesis, endothelial cell-derived platelet-derived growth factor-B (PDGF-B) regulates pericyte proliferation and migration via the platelet-derived growth factor receptor-? (PDGFR?). PDGF-B overexpression has been associated with proliferative retinopathy, but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here we show that abnormal, ?-SMA-expressing pericytes cover angiogenic sprouts and pathological neovascular tufts (NVTs) in a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy. Genetic lineage tracing demonstrates that pericytes acquire ?-SMA expression during NVT formation. Pericyte depletion through inducible endothelial-specific knockout of Pdgf-b decreases NVT formation and impairs revascularization. Inactivation of the NCK1 and NCK2 adaptor proteins inhibits pericyte migration by preventing PDGF-B-induced phosphorylation of PDGFR? at Y1009 and PAK activation. Loss of Nck1 and Nck2 in mural cells prevents NVT formation and vascular leakage and promotes revascularization, suggesting PDGFR?-Y1009/NCK signaling as a potential target for the treatment of retinopathies.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Retinal vasculopathies, including diabetic retinopathy (DR), threaten the vision of over 100 million people. Retinal pericytes are critical for microvascular control, supporting retinal endothelial cells via direct contact and paracrine mechanisms. With pericyte death or loss, endothelial dysfunction ensues, resulting in hypoxic insult, pathologic angiogenesis, and ultimately blindness. Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) differentiate into pericytes, suggesting they may be useful as a protective and regenerative cellular therapy for retinal vascular disease. In this study, we examine the ability of ASCs to differentiate into pericytes that can stabilize retinal vessels in multiple pre-clinical models of retinal vasculopathy.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>We found that ASCs express pericyte-specific markers in vitro. When injected intravitreally into the murine eye subjected to oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR), ASCs were capable of migrating to and integrating with the retinal vasculature. Integrated ASCs maintained marker expression and pericyte-like morphology in vivo for at least 2 months. ASCs injected after OIR vessel destabilization and ablation enhanced vessel regrowth (16% reduction in avascular area). ASCs injected intravitreally before OIR vessel destabilization prevented retinal capillary dropout (53% reduction). Treatment of ASCs with transforming growth factor beta (TGF-?1) enhanced hASC pericyte function, in a manner similar to native retinal pericytes, with increased marker expression of smooth muscle actin, cellular contractility, endothelial stabilization, and microvascular protection in OIR. Finally, injected ASCs prevented capillary loss in the diabetic retinopathic Akimba mouse (79% reduction 2 months after injection).<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>ASC-derived pericytes can integrate with retinal vasculature, adopting both pericyte morphology and marker expression, and provide functional vascular protection in multiple murine models of retinal vasculopathy. The pericyte phenotype demonstrated by ASCs is enhanced with TGF-?1 treatment, as seen with native retinal pericytes. ASCs may represent an innovative cellular therapy for protection against and repair of DR and other retinal vascular diseases.
Project description:Milk fat globule-EGF factor 8 (MFG-E8) is an anti-inflammatory glycoprotein that mediates a wide spectrum of pathophysiological processes. MFG-E8 has been studied as a key regulator of cancer cell invasion, migration, and proliferation in different tissues and organs. However, potential roles of MFG-E8 in the growth and progression of liver cancer have not been investigated to date. Here, we analyzed 33 human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) samples and found that levels of MFG-E8 expression were significantly higher in HCC cells than in normal liver tissues. In addition, our in vitro gain-of-function study in three different HCC cell lines revealed that overexpression of MFG-E8 promoted the proliferation and migration of HCC cells, as determined by RT-qPCR, MTT assays, and wound healing analyses. Conversely, an MFG-E8 loss-of function study showed that proliferation capacity was significantly reduced by MFG-E8 knockdown in HCC cells. Additionally, MFG-E8 activity-neutralizing antibodies profoundly inhibited both migration and proliferation of HCC cells, attenuating their tumorigenic properties. These reductions in migration and proliferation were rescued by treatment of HCC cells with recombinant MFG-E8 protein. Furthermore, an in vivo HCC xenograft study showed that the number of proliferating HCC cells and tumor volume/weight were all significantly increased by MFG-E8 overexpression, compared to control mice. These results clearly show that MFG-E8 plays an important role in HCC progression and may provide a basis for future mechanistic studies and new strategies for the treatment of liver cancer.
Project description:Pericytes, surrounding the endothelium, fulfill diverse functions that are crucial for vascular homeostasis. The loss of pericytes is associated with pathologies, such as diabetic retinopathy and Alzheimer's disease. Thus, there exists a need for an experimental system that combines pharmacologic manipulation and quantification of pericyte coverage during sprouting angiogenesis. Here, we describe an in vitro angiogenesis assay that develops lumenized vascular sprouts composed of endothelial cells enveloped by pericytes, with the additional ability to comparatively screen the effect of multiple small molecules simultaneously. For automated analysis, we also present an ImageJ plugin tool we developed to quantify sprout morphology and pericyte coverage.Human umbilical vein endothelial cells and human brain vascular pericytes were coated on microcarrier beads and embedded in fibrin gels in a 96-well plate to form lumenized vascular sprouts. After treatment with pharmacologic compounds, sprouts were fixed, stained, and imaged via optical z-sections over the area of each well. The maximum intensity projections of these images were stitched together to form montages of the wells, and those montages were processed and analyzed.Vascular sprouts formed within 4-12 days and contained a patent lumen surrounded by a layer of human endothelial cells and pericytes. Using our workflow and image analysis, pericyte coverage after treatment with various compounds was successfully quantified.Here we present a robust in vitro assay using primary human vascular cells that allows researchers to analyze the effects of multiple compounds on sprouting angiogenesis and pericyte coverage. Our ImageJ plugin offers automated evaluation across multiple different vascular parameters, such as sprout length, cell density, branch points, and pericyte coverage.
Project description:The Tie receptors with their Angiopoietin ligands act as regulators of angiogenesis and vessel maturation. Tie2 exerts its functions through its supposed endothelial-specific expression. Yet, Tie2 is also expressed at lower levels by pericytes and it has not been unravelled through which mechanisms pericyte Angiopoietin/Tie signalling affects angiogenesis. Here we show that human and murine pericytes express functional Tie2 receptor. Silencing of Tie2 in pericytes results in a pro-migratory phenotype. Pericyte Tie2 controls sprouting angiogenesis in in vitro sprouting and in vivo spheroid assays. Tie2 downstream signalling in pericytes involves Calpain, Akt and FOXO3A. Ng2-Cre-driven deletion of pericyte-expressed Tie2 in mice transiently delays postnatal retinal angiogenesis. Yet, Tie2 deletion in pericytes results in a pronounced pro-angiogenic effect leading to enhanced tumour growth. Together, the data expand and revise the current concepts on vascular Angiopoietin/Tie signalling and propose a bidirectional, reciprocal EC-pericyte model of Tie2 signalling.
Project description:Pericytes, the mural cells that constitute the capillaries along with endothelial cells, have been associated with the pathobiology of diabetic retinopathy; however, therapeutic implications of this association remain largely unexplored. Pericytes appear to be highly susceptible to the metabolic challenges associated with a diabetic environment, and there is substantial evidence that their loss may contribute to microvascular instability leading to the formation of microaneurysms, microhemorrhages, acellular capillaries, and capillary nonperfusion. Since pericytes are strategically located at the interface between the vascular and neural components of the retina, they offer extraordinary opportunities for therapeutic interventions in diabetic retinopathy. Moreover, the availability of novel imaging methodologies now allows for the in vivo visualization of pericytes, enabling a new generation of clinical trials that use pericyte tracking as clinical endpoints. The recognition of multiple signaling mechanisms involved in pericyte development and survival should allow for a renewed interest in pericytes as a therapeutic target for diabetic retinopathy.