VEGF165b Modulates Endothelial VEGFR1-STAT3 Signaling Pathway and Angiogenesis in Human and Experimental Peripheral Arterial Disease.
ABSTRACT: Atherosclerotic-arterial occlusions decrease tissue perfusion causing ischemia to lower limbs in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Ischemia in muscle induces an angiogenic response, but the magnitude of this response is frequently inadequate to meet tissue perfusion requirements. Alternate splicing in the exon-8 of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A results in production of proangiogenic VEGFxxxa isoforms (VEGF165a, 165 for the 165 amino acid product) and antiangiogenic VEGFxxxb (VEGF165b) isoforms.The antiangiogenic VEGFxxxb isoforms are thought to antagonize VEGFxxxa isoforms and decrease activation of VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR2), hereunto considered the dominant receptor in postnatal angiogenesis in PAD. Our data will show that VEGF165b inhibits VEGFR1 signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-3 signaling to decrease angiogenesis in human and experimental PAD.In human PAD versus control muscle biopsies, VEGF165b: (1) is elevated, (2) is bound higher (versus VEGF165a) to VEGFR1 not VEGFR2, and (3) levels correlated with decreased VEGFR1, not VEGFR2, activation. In experimental PAD, delivery of an isoform-specific monoclonal antibody to VEGF165b versus control antibody enhanced perfusion in animal model of severe PAD (Balb/c strain) without activating VEGFR2 signaling but with increased VEGFR1 activation. Receptor pull-down experiments demonstrate that VEGF165b inhibition versus control increased VEGFR1-STAT3 binding and STAT3 activation, independent of Janus-activated kinase-1)/Janus-activated kinase-2. Using VEGFR1+/- mice that could not increase VEGFR1 after ischemia, we confirm that VEGF165b decreases VEGFR1-STAT3 signaling to decrease perfusion.Our results indicate that VEGF165b prevents activation of VEGFR1-STAT3 signaling by VEGF165a and hence inhibits angiogenesis and perfusion recovery in PAD muscle.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Atherosclerotic occlusions decrease blood flow to the lower limbs, causing ischemia and tissue loss in patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD). No effective medical therapies are currently available to induce angiogenesis and promote perfusion recovery in patients with severe PAD. Clinical trials aimed at inducing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A levels, a potent proangiogenic growth factor to induce angiogenesis, and perfusion recovery were not successful. Alternate splicing in the exon-8 of VEGF-A results in the formation of VEGFxxxa (VEGF165a) and VEGFxxxb (VEGF165b) isoforms with existing literature focusing on VEGF165b's role in inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2-dependent angiogenesis. However, we have recently shown that VEGF165b blocks VEGF-A-induced endothelial vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (VEGFR1) activation in ischemic muscle to impair perfusion recovery. Because macrophage-secreted VEGF165b has been shown to decrease angiogenesis in peripheral artery disease, and macrophages were well known to play important roles in regulating ischemic muscle vascular remodeling, we examined the role of VEGF165b in regulating macrophage function in PAD. METHODS:Femoral artery ligation and resection were used as an in vivo preclinical PAD model, and hypoxia serum starvation was used as an in vitro model for PAD. Experiments including laser-Doppler perfusion imaging, adoptive cell transfer to ischemic muscle, immunoblot analysis, ELISAs, immunostainings, flow cytometry, quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis, and RNA sequencing were performed to determine a role of VEGF165b in regulating macrophage phenotype and function in PAD. RESULTS:First, we found increased VEGF165b expression with increased M1-like macrophages in PAD versus non-PAD (controls) muscle biopsies. Next, using in vitro hypoxia serum starvation, in vivo pre clinical PAD models, and adoptive transfer of VEGF165b-expressing bone marrow-derived macrophages or VEGFR1+/- bone marrow-derived macrophages (M1-like phenotype), we demonstrate that VEGF165b inhibits VEGFR1 activation to induce an M1-like phenotype that impairs ischemic muscle neovascularization. Subsequently, we found S100A8/S100A9 as VEGFR1 downstream regulators of macrophage polarization by RNA-Seq analysis of hypoxia serum starvation-VEGFR1+/+ versus hypoxia serum starvation-VEGFR1+/- bone marrow-derived macrophages. CONCLUSIONS:In our current study, we demonstrate that increased VEGF165b expression in macrophages induces an antiangiogenic M1-like phenotype that directly impairs angiogenesis. VEGFR1 inhibition by VEGF165b results in S100A8/S100A9-mediated calcium influx to induce an M1-like phenotype that impairs ischemic muscle revascularization and perfusion recovery.
Project description:We built a whole-body computational model to study the role of the poorly understood vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)165b splice isoform in peripheral artery disease (PAD). This model was built and validated using published and new experimental data from cells, mice, and humans, and explicitly accounts for known properties of VEGF165b : lack of extracellular matrix (ECM)-binding and weak phosphorylation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR2) in vitro. The resulting model captures all known information about VEGF165b distribution and signaling in human PAD, and provides novel, nonintuitive insight into VEGF165b mechanism of action in vivo. Although VEGF165a and VEGF165b compete for VEGFR2 in vitro, simulations show that these isoforms do not compete for VEGFR2 at much lower physiological concentrations. Instead, reduced VEGF165a may drive impaired VEGFR2 signaling. The model predicts that VEGF165b does compete for binding to VEGFR1, supporting a VEGFR1-mediated response to anti-VEGF165b . The model predicts a key role for VEGF165b in PAD, but in a different way than previously hypothesized.
Project description:Alteration of pro- and antiangiogenic homeostasis of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) isoforms in patients with hyperglycemia seems crucial but substantially unexplored at least quantitatively for diabetic retinopathy (DR). Therefore, in the present study we aimed to estimate the difference between the pro- (VEGF165a) and antiangiogenic (VEGF165b) VEGF isoforms and its soluble receptors for severity of DR.The study included 123 participants (diabetic retinopathy: 81, diabetic control: 20, non-diabetic control: 22) from the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, Kolkata. The protein levels of VEGF165a (proangiogenic), VEGF165b (antiangiogenic), VEGF receptor 1 (VEGFR1), VEGFR2, and VEGFR3 in plasma were determined with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).An imbalance in VEGF homeostasis, a statistically significant concomitant increase (p<0.0001) in the level of VEGF165a and a decrease in the level of VEGF165b, was observed with the severity of the disease. Increased differences between VEGF165a and VEGF165b i.e. VEGF165a-b concomitantly increased statistically significantly with the severity of the disease (p<0.0001), patients with diffuse diabetic macular edema (DME) with proliferative DR (PDR) had the highest imbalance. The plasma soluble form of VEGFR2 concentration consistently increased statistically significantly with the severity of the disease (p<0.0001).The increased difference or imbalance between the pro- (VEGF165a) and antiangiogenic (VEGF165b) homeostasis of the VEGF isoforms, seems crucial for an adverse prognosis of DR and may be a better explanatory marker compared with either VEGF isoform.
Project description:Fluorescent VEGF-A isoforms have been evaluated for their ability to discriminate between VEGFR2 and NRP1 in real-time ligand binding studies in live cells using BRET. To enable this, we synthesized single-site (N-terminal cysteine) labeled versions of VEGF165a, VEGF165b, and VEGF121a. These were used in combination with N-terminal NanoLuc-tagged VEGFR2 or NRP1 to evaluate the selectivity of VEGF isoforms for these two membrane proteins. All fluorescent VEGF-A isoforms displayed high affinity for VEGFR2. Only VEGF165a-TMR bound to NanoLuc-NRP1 with a similar high affinity (4.4 nM). Competition NRP1 binding experiments yielded a rank order of potency of VEGF165a > VEGF189a > VEGF145a. VEGF165b, VEGF-Ax, VEGF121a, and VEGF111a were unable to bind to NRP1. There were marked differences in the kinetic binding profiles of VEGF165a-TMR for NRP1 and VEGFR2. These data emphasize the importance of the kinetic aspects of ligand binding to VEGFR2 and its co-receptors in the dynamics of VEGF signaling.
Project description:Inducing therapeutic angiogenesis to effectively form hierarchical, non-leaky networks of perfused vessels in tissue engineering applications and ischemic disease remains an unmet challenge, despite extensive research and multiple clinical trials. Here, we use a previously-developed, multi-scale, computational systems pharmacology model of human peripheral artery disease to screen a diverse array of promising pro-angiogenic strategies, including gene therapy, biomaterials, and antibodies. Our previously-validated model explicitly accounts for VEGF immobilization, Neuropilin-1 binding, and weak activation of VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) by the "VEGFxxxb" isoforms. First, we examine biomaterial-based delivery of VEGF engineered for increased affinity to the extracellular matrix. We show that these constructs maintain VEGF close to physiological levels and extend the duration of VEGFR2 activation. We demonstrate the importance of sub-saturating VEGF dosing to prevent angioma formation. Second, we examine the potential of ligand- or receptor-based gene therapy to normalize VEGF receptor signaling. Third, we explore the potential for antibody-based pro-angiogenic therapy. Our model supports recent observations that improvement in perfusion following treatment with anti-VEGF165b in mice is mediated by VEGF-receptor 1, not VEGFR2. Surprisingly, the model predicts that the approved anti-VEGF cancer drug, bevacizumab, may actually improve signaling of both VEGFR1 and VEGFR2 via a novel 'antibody swapping' effect that we demonstrate here. Altogether, this model provides insight into the mechanisms of action of several classes of pro-angiogenic strategies within the context of the complex molecular and physiological processes occurring in vivo. We identify molecular signaling similarities between promising approaches and key differences between promising and ineffective strategies.
Project description:Vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) is a key mediator of angiogenesis, signalling via the class IV tyrosine kinase receptor family of VEGF Receptors (VEGFRs). Although VEGF-A ligands bind to both VEGFR1 and VEGFR2, they primarily signal via VEGFR2 leading to endothelial cell proliferation, survival, migration and vascular permeability. Distinct VEGF-A isoforms result from alternative splicing of the Vegfa gene at exon 8, resulting in VEGFxxxa or VEGFxxxb isoforms. Alternative splicing events at exons 5?7, in addition to recently identified posttranslational read-through events, produce VEGF-A isoforms that differ in their bioavailability and interaction with the co-receptor Neuropilin-1. This review explores the molecular pharmacology of VEGF-A isoforms at VEGFR2 in respect to ligand binding and downstream signalling. To understand how VEGF-A isoforms have distinct signalling despite similar affinities for VEGFR2, this review re-evaluates the typical classification of these isoforms relative to the prototypical, “pro-angiogenic” VEGF165a. We also examine the molecular mechanisms underpinning the regulation of VEGF-A isoform signalling and the importance of interactions with other membrane and extracellular matrix proteins. As approved therapeutics targeting the VEGF-A/VEGFR signalling axis largely lack long-term efficacy, understanding these isoform-specific mechanisms could aid future drug discovery efforts targeting VEGF receptor pharmacology.
Project description:Vascular endothelial growth factor 165 (VEGF165) is an important extracellular protein involved in pathological angiogenesis in diseases such as cancer, wet age-related macular degeneration (wet-AMD) and retinitis pigmentosa. VEGF165 exists in two different isoforms: the angiogenic VEGF165a, and the anti-angiogenic VEGF165b. In some angiogenic diseases the proportion of VEGF165b may be equal to or higher than that of VEGF165a. Therefore, developing therapeutics that inhibit VEGF165a and not VEGF165b may result in greater anti-angiogenic activity and therapeutic benefit. To this end, we report the selective binding properties of sulfated hyaluronic acid (s-HA). Selective biopolymers offer several advantages over antibodies or aptamers including cost effective and simple synthesis, and the ability to make nanoparticles or hydrogels for drug delivery applications or VEGF165a sequestration. Limiting sulfation to the C-6 hydroxyl (C-6 OH) in the N-acetyl-glucosamine repeat unit of hyaluronic acid (HA) resulted in a polymer with strong affinity for VEGF165a but not VEGF165b. Increased sulfation beyond the C-6 OH (i.e. greater than 1 sulfate group per HA repeat unit) resulted in s-HA polymers that bound both VEGF165a and VEGF165b. The C-6 OH sulfated HA (Mw 150 kDa) showed strong binding properties to VEGF165a with a fast association rate constant (Ka; 2.8 × 10(6) M(-1) s(-1)), slow dissociation rate constant (Kd; 2.8 × 10(-3) s(-1)) and strong equilibrium binding constant (KD; ?1.0 nM)), which is comparable to the non-selective VEGF165 binding properties of the commercialized therapeutic anti-VEGF antibody (Avastin(®)). The C-6 OH sulfated HA also inhibited human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) survival and proliferation and human dermal microvascular endothelial cell (HMVEC) tube formation. These results demonstrate that the semi-synthetic natural polymer, C-6 OH sulfated HA, may be a promising biomaterial for the treatment of angiogenesis-related disease.
Project description:Alternative splicing of VEGF-A gives rise to two families - the pro-angiogenic VEGFxxx family and the anti-angiogenic VEGFxxxb family that differ by only six amino acids at their C-terminal end. The first verified and widely reported VEGFxxxb family member is VEGF165b, and here VEGF165b is a positive control.VEGF111b mRNA was detected in ovarian cancer cell lines SKOV3 and OVCAR3 by RT-PCR. Western blot was used to detect VEGF111b and VEGF165b protein in the CMs and lysates of OVCAR3 cells. MTT and colony formation assay were used to detect the short-term and long-term proliferation inhibition ability of ovarian cancer cells with VEGF111b overexpression. Cell-cycle analysis was performed to further characterize VEGF111b inhibition effects. VEGF111b signaling on ovarian cancer cells were determined by western blot. The expression levels of Ki67, PCNA, CD31 and VEGF in VEGF111b overexpression xenograft model were detected by immunohistochemistry.Under the effect of mitomycin C, we identify a new member of VEGFxxxb family-VEGF111b in ovarian cancer cell lines. SKOV3 and OVCAR cells were transfected with empty lentivirus, VEGF111b or VEGF165b lentivirus. VEGF111b and VEGF165b overexpression inhibits proliferation of the ovarian cancer cells, but inhibition effect of VEGF111b is slightly less efficient than VEGF165b. Cell cycle analysis was further used to elucidate the mechanism involved in the inhibition effect. Further, we detected the expression of VEGF-R2 in SKOV3 and OVCAR3 cells, and shown that VEGF111b might bind to conventional VEGF-R2 with the results of reducing VEGF-R2 tyrosine phosphorylation and downstream signaling to have anti-tumor effects. In vivo VEGF111b overexpression inhibits ovarian cancer growth in xenograft mice.Our results show that VEGF111b, as a new member of VEGFxxxb family, with similar properties to VEGF165b, plays potent anti-tumor effect in vitro and in vivo that can target the VEGF-R2 and its signaling pathway to inhibit ovarian tumor growth. This also opens a new avenue for treating ovarian cancer.
Project description:Tumor growth relies on oxygen and blood supply depending on neo-vascularization. This process is mediated by the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) in many tumors. This paradigm has led to the development of specific therapeutic approaches targeting VEGF or its receptors. Despite their promising effects, these strategies have not improved overall survival of patients suffering from different cancers compared to standard therapies. We hypothesized that the existence of anti-angiogenic forms of VEGF VEGFxxxb which are still present in many tumors limit the therapeutic effects of the anti-VEGF antibodies bevacizumab/Avastin (BVZ). To test this hypothesis, we generated renal cell carcinoma cells (RCC) expressing VEGF165b. The incidence of tumors xenografts generated in nude mice and their growth were inferior to those obtained with control cells. Whereas BVZ had no effect on control tumors, it slowed-down the growth of tumor generated with VEGF165b expressing cells. A prophylactic immunization against the domain discriminating VEGF from VEGFxxxb isoforms inhibited the growth of tumor generated with two different syngenic tumor cell lines (melanoma (B16 cells) and RCC (RENCA cells)). Purified immunoglobulins from immunized mice also slowed-down tumor growth of human RCC xenografts in nude mice, producing a potent effect compared to BVZ in this model. Furthermore, down-regulating the serine-arginine-rich splicing factor 1 (SRSF1) or masking SRSF1 binding sites by 2'O-Methyl RNA resulted in the increase of the VEGFxxxb/VEGF ratio. Therefore, a vaccine approach, specific antibodies against pro-angiogenic forms of VEGF, or increasing the VEGFxxxb/VEGF ratio may represent new prophylactic or pro-active anti-cancer strategies.
Project description:Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a key regulator of angiogenesis, the growth of new capillaries from existing microvasculature. In peripheral arterial disease (PAD), lower extremity muscle ischemia develops downstream of atherosclerotic obstruction. A working hypothesis proposed that the maladaptive overexpression of soluble VEGF receptor 1 (sVEGFR1) in ischemic muscle tissues, and its subsequent antagonism of VEGF bioactivity, may contribute to the deficient angiogenic response in PAD, as well as the limited success of therapeutic angiogenesis strategies where exogenous VEGF genes/proteins are delivered. The objectives of this study were to develop a computational framework for simulating the systemic distributions of VEGF and sVEGFR1 (e.g., intramuscular vs. circulating, free vs. complexed) as observed in human PAD patients and to serve as a platform for the systematic optimization of diagnostic tools and therapeutic strategies. A three-compartment model was constructed, dividing the human body into the ischemic calf muscle, blood, and the rest of the body, connected through macromolecular biotransport processes. Detailed molecular interactions between VEGF, sVEGFR1, endothelial surface receptors (VEGFR1, VEGFR2, NRP1), and interstitial matrix sites were modeled. Our simulation results did not support a simultaneous decrease in plasma sVEGFR1 during PAD-associated elevations in plasma VEGF reported in literature. Furthermore, despite the overexpression in sVEGFR1, our PAD control demonstrated increased proangiogenic signaling complex formation, relative to our previous healthy control, due to sizeable upregulations in VEGFR2 and VEGF expression, thus leaving open the possibility that impaired angiogenesis in PAD may be rooted in signaling pathway disruptions downstream of ligand-receptor binding.