Mature and progenitor endothelial cells perform angiogenesis also under protease inhibition: the amoeboid angiogenesis.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Controlling vascular growth is a challenging aim for the inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis. The amoeboid and mesenchymal types of invasiveness are two modes of migration interchangeable in cancer cells: the Rac-dependent mesenchymal migration requires the activity of proteases; the Rho-ROCK-dependent amoeboid motility is protease-independent and has never been described in endothelial cells. METHODS:A cocktail of physiologic inhibitors (Ph-C) of serine-proteases, metallo-proteases and cysteine-proteases, mimicking the physiological environment that cells encounter during their migration within the angiogenesis sites was used to induce amoeboid style migration of Endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs) and mature endothelial cells (ECs). To evaluate the mesenchymal-ameboid transition RhoA and Rac1 activation assays were performed along with immunofluorescence analysis of proteins involved in cytoskeleton organization. Cell invasion was studied in Boyden chambers and Matrigel plug assay for the in vivo angiogenesis. RESULTS:In the present study we showed in both ECFCs and ECs, a decrease of activated Rac1 and an increase of activated RhoA upon shifting of cells to the amoeboid conditions. In presence of Ph-C inhibitors both cell lines acquired a round morphology and Matrigel invasion was greatly enhanced with respect to that observed in the absence of protease inhibition. We also observed that the urokinase-plasminogen-activator (uPAR) receptor silencing and uPAR-integrin uncoupling with the M25 peptide abolished both mesenchymal and amoeboid angiogenesis of ECFCs and ECs in vitro and in vivo, indicating a role of the uPAR-integrin-actin axis in the regulation of amoeboid angiogenesis. Furthermore, under amoeboid conditions endothelial cells seem to be indifferent to VEGF stimulation, which induces an amoeboid signaling pattern also in mesenchymal conditions. CONCLUSION:Here we first provide a data set disclosing that endothelial cells can move and differentiate into vascular structures in vitro and in vivo also in the absence of proteases activity, performing a new type of neovascularization: the "amoeboid angiogenesis". uPAR is indispensable for ECs and ECFCs to perform an efficient amoeboid angiogenesis. Therefore, uPAR silencing or the block of its integrin-interaction, together with standard treatment against VEGF, could be a possible solution for angiogenesis inhibition.
Project description:The receptor for the urokinase plasminogen activator (uPAR) is up-regulated in malignant tumors. Historically the function of uPAR in cancer cell invasion is strictly related to its property to promote uPA-dependent proteolysis of extracellular matrix and to open a path to malignant cells. These features are typical of mesenchymal motility. Here we show that the full-length form of uPAR is required when prostate and melanoma cancer cells convert their migration style from the "path generating" mesenchymal to the "path finding" amoeboid one, thus conferring a plasticity to tumor cell invasiveness across three-dimensional matrices. Indeed, in response to a protease inhibitors-rich milieu, prostate and melanoma cells activated an amoeboid invasion program connoted by retraction of cell protrusions, RhoA-mediated rounding of the cell body, formation of a cortical ring of actin and a reduction of Rac-1 activation. While the mesenchymal movement was reduced upon silencing of uPAR expression, the amoeboid one was almost completely abolished, in parallel with a deregulation of small Rho-GTPases activity. In melanoma and prostate cancer cells we have shown uPAR colocalization with ?1/?3 integrins and actin cytoskeleton, as well integrins-actin co-localization under both mesenchymal and amoeboid conditions. Such co-localizations were lost upon treatment of cells with a peptide that inhibits uPAR-integrin interactions. Similarly to uPAR silencing, the peptide reduced mesenchymal invasion and almost abolished the amoeboid one. These results indicate that full-length uPAR bridges the mesenchymal and amoeboid style of movement by an inward-oriented activity based on its property to promote integrin-actin interactions and the following cytoskeleton assembly.
Project description:Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), the most common congenital heart defect, is associated with an increased prevalence of aortic dilation, aortic rupture and aortic valve calcification. Endothelial cells (ECs) play a major role in vessel wall integrity. Little is known regarding EC function in BAV patients due to lack of patient derived primary ECs. Endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs) have been reported to be a valid surrogate model for several cardiovascular pathologies, thereby facilitating an in vitro system to assess patient-specific endothelial dysfunction. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate cellular functions in ECFCs isolated from BAV patients. Outgrowth and proliferation of ECFCs from patients with BAV (n = 34) and controls with a tricuspid aortic valve (TAV, n = 10) were determined and related to patient characteristics. Interestingly, we were only able to generate ECFCs from TAV and BAV patients without aortic dilation, and failed to isolate ECFC colonies from patients with a dilated aorta. Analyzing EC function showed that while proliferation, cell size and endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition were similar in TAV and BAV ECFCs, migration and the wound healing capacity of BAV ECFCs is significantly higher compared to TAV ECFCs. Furthermore, calcification is blunted in BAV compared to TAV ECFCs. Our results reveal ECs dysfunction in BAV patients and future research is required to unravel the underlying mechanisms and to further validate ECFCs as a patient-specific in vitro model for BAV.
Project description:AIMS:Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-initiated angiogenesis requires coordinated proteolytic degradation of extracellular matrix provided by the urokinase plasminogen activator/urokinase receptor (uPA/uPAR) system and regulation of cell migration provided by integrin-matrix interaction. In this study, we investigated the mechanisms underlying the uPAR-dependent modulation of VEGF-induced endothelial migration. METHODS AND RESULTS:We used flow cytometry to quantify integrins at the cell surface. Stimulation of human and murine endothelial cells with VEGF resulted in internalization of ?5?1-integrins. Micropatterning and immunocytochemistry revealed co-clustering of uPAR and ?5?1-integrins and retrieval via clathrin-coated vesicles. It was also contingent on receptors of the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDL-R) family. VEGF-induced integrin redistribution was inhibited by elimination of uPAR from the endothelial cell surface or by inhibitory peptides that block the uPAR-integrin interaction. Under these conditions, the migratory response of endothelial cells upon VEGF stimulation was impaired both in vitro and in vivo. CONCLUSIONS:The observations indicate that uPAR is an essential component of the network through which VEGF controls endothelial cell migration. uPAR is a bottleneck through which the VEGF-induced signal must be funnelled for both focused proteolytic activity at the leading edge and for redistribution of integrins.
Project description:Angiogenic peptides have therapeutic potential for the treatment of chronic ischemic diseases. Periostin, an extracellular matrix protein expressed in injured tissues, promotes angiogenesis and tissue repair. We previously reported that in vivo administration of both recombinant full-length protein and the first FAS I domain of periostin alleviated peripheral artery occlusive disease by stimulating the migration of humane endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs) and subsequent angiogenesis. In the present study, we ascertained the peptide sequence responsible for the periostin-induced angiogenesis. By serial deletion mapping of the first FAS I domain, we identified a peptide sequence (amino acids 142-151) of periostin for stimulation of chemotactic migration, adhesion, proliferation and endothelial tube formation of human ECFCs in vitro. Chemotactic migration of ECFCs induced by the periostin peptide was blocked by pre-incubation with an anti-?5 integrin neutralizing antibody. Treatment of ECFCs with the periostin peptide led to phosphorylation of both AKT and ERK, and pretreatment of ECFCs with the MEK-ERK pathway inhibitor U0126 or the PI3K-AKT pathway inhibitors, LY294002 or Wortmannin, blocked the periostin peptide-stimulated migration of ECFCs. These results suggest that the synthetic periostin peptide can be applied for stimulating angiogenic and therapeutic potentials of ECFCs.
Project description:Essentials Endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs) are a powerful tool to study vascular diseases ex vivo. Separate ECFC lines show variations in morphology and von Willebrand factor-related parameters. Maximum cell density is correlated with von Willebrand factor expression in ECFCs. Variations in ECFC lines are dependent on the age and mesenchymal state of the cells. ABSTRACT: Background Endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs) are cultured endothelial cells derived from peripheral blood. ECFCs are a powerful tool to study pathophysiological mechanisms underlying vascular diseases, including von Willebrand disease. In prior research, however, large variations between ECFC lines were observed in, among others, von Willebrand factor (VWF) expression. Objective Understand the relation between phenotypic characteristics and VWF-related parameters of healthy control ECFCs. Methods ECFC lines (n = 16) derived from six donors were studied at maximum cell density. Secreted and intracellular VWF antigen were measured by ELISA. The angiogenic capacity of ECFCs was investigated by the Matrigel tube formation assay. Differences in expression of genes involved in angiogenesis, aging, and endothelial to mesenchymal transition (EndoMT) were measured by quantitative PCR. Results Different ECFC lines show variable morphologies and cell density at maximum confluency and cell lines with a low maximum cell density show a mixed and more mesenchymal phenotype. We identified a significant positive correlation between maximum cell density and VWF production, both at protein and mRNA level. Also, significant correlations were observed between maximum cell density and several angiogenic, aging and EndoMT parameters. Conclusions We observed variations in morphology, maximum cell density, VWF production, and angiogenic potential between healthy control ECFCs. These variations seem to be attributable to differences in aging and EndoMT. Because variations correlate with cell density, we believe that ECFCs maintain a powerful tool to study vascular diseases. It is however important to compare cell lines with the same characteristics and perform experiments at maximum cell density.
Project description:During angiogenesis, endothelial cells (ECs) degrade their surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM) to facilitate invasion. How interactions between ECs and other cells within their microenvironment facilitate this process is only partially understood. We have utilized a tractable 3D co-culture model to investigate the proteolytic mechanisms by which pre-committed or more highly committed mesenchymal cells stimulate capillary formation. On their own, ECs invade their surrounding matrix, but do not form capillaries. However, in the presence of either mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) or fibroblasts, ECs form polarized, tubular structures that are intimately associated with mesenchymal cells. Further, ECs up-regulate gene expression of several extracellular proteases upon co-culture with either mesenchymal cell type. The administration of both broad spectrum and specific protease inhibitors demonstrated that MSC-stimulated capillary formation relied solely on membrane-type matrix metalloproteinases (MT-MMPs) while fibroblast-mediated sprouting proceeded independent of MMP inhibition unless the plasminogen activator/plasmin axis was inhibited in concert. While other studies have established a role for the ECM itself in dictating proteolysis and matrix degradation during capillary morphogenesis, the present study illustrates that heterotypic cellular interactions within the microenvironment can direct the proteolytic mechanisms required for capillary formation.
Project description:To test the hypothesis that the robust expansion of bovine corneal endothelial cells (BCECs) in vitro is due to the presence of individual endothelial cells with various levels of proliferative potential.BCECs and bovine vascular endothelial cells (ECs) derived from aorta, coronary artery, and pulmonary artery were cultivated in optimized medium. These cell populations were confirmed by morphologic features, functional assays, and gene expression profiles. Moreover, ECs were plated in a single-cell clonogenic assay to evaluate colony-forming ability.Both corneal and vascular ECs were confirmed to be pure populations of endothelium uncontaminated with hematopoietic cells. A complete hierarchy of endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs) was identified in BCECs by a single-cell clonogenic assay. The distribution of the various types of ECFCs was similar to the control ECs removed from the systemic vessels.Cultured BCECs display clonal proliferative properties similar to those of vascular ECs.
Project description:Endothelial progenitor cells are critically involved in essential biologic processes, such as vascular homeostasis, regeneration, and tumor angiogenesis. Endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs) are endothelial progenitor cells with robust proliferative potential. Their profound vessel-forming capacity makes them a promising tool for innovative experimental, diagnostic, and therapeutic strategies. Efficient and safe methods for their isolation and expansion are presently lacking. Based on the previously established efficacy of animal serum-free large-scale clinical-grade propagation of mesenchymal stromal cells, we hypothesized that endothelial lineage cells may also be propagated efficiently following a comparable strategy. Here we demonstrate that human ECFCs can be recovered directly from unmanipulated whole blood. A novel large-scale animal protein-free humanized expansion strategy preserves the progenitor hierarchy with sustained proliferation potential of more than 30 population doublings. By applying large-scale propagated ECFCs in various test systems, we observed vascular networks in vitro and perfused vessels in vivo. After large-scale expansion and cryopreservation phenotype, function, proliferation, and genomic stability were maintained. For the first time, proliferative, functional, and storable ECFCs propagated under humanized conditions can be explored in terms of their therapeutic applicability and risk profile.
Project description:Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) acting through VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) on endothelial cells (ECs) is a key regulator of angiogenesis, a process essential for wound healing and tumor metastasis. Rap1a and Rap1b, 2 highly homologous small G proteins, are both required for angiogenesis in vivo and for normal EC responses to VEGF. Here we sought to determine the mechanism through which Rap1 promotes VEGF-mediated angiogenesis. Using lineage-restricted Rap1-knockout mice we show that Rap1-deficiency in endothelium leads to defective angiogenesis in vivo, in a dose-dependent manner. Using ECs obtained from Rap1-deficient mice we demonstrate that Rap1b promotes VEGF-VEGFR2 kinase activation and regulates integrin activation. Importantly, the Rap1b-dependent VEGF-VEGFR2 activation is in part mediated via integrin ?(v)?(3). Furthermore, in an in vivo model of zebrafish angiogenesis, we demonstrate that Rap1b is essential for the sprouting of intersomitic vessels, a process known to be dependent on VEGF signaling. Using 2 distinct pharmacologic VEGFR2 inhibitors we show that Rap1b and VEGFR2 act additively to control angiogenesis in vivo. We conclude that Rap1b promotes VEGF-mediated angiogenesis by promoting VEGFR2 activation in ECs via integrin ?(v)?(3). These results provide a novel insight into the role of Rap1 in VEGF signaling in ECs.
Project description:Angiogenesis is a complicated process in which perivascular cells play important roles. Multipotent mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) from distinct tissues have been proved to be proangiogenic and share functional properties and gene expression profiles with perivascular cells. However, different tissues derived MSCs may exhibit different potential for clinical applications. Accordingly, comparative studies on different MSCs are essential. Here, we characterized MSCs from adipose (ADSCs), umbilical cord (UCMSCs), and endometrium (EMSCs) in terms of the surface antigen expression, differentiation ability, and the ability of angiogenesis promotion on endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs) both in vitro and in vivo. No significant differences in immunophenotype and differentiation were observed. In addition, three types of MSCs all located around tubular-like structures formed by ECFCs in coculture system on matrigel. But ECFCs seeded on ADSCs monolayer formed more organized capillary-like network than that on UCMSCs or EMSCs. When suspended with ECFCs in matrigel and implanted into nude mice, ADSCs promoted more functional vessel formation after 7 days. Moreover, in murine hindlimb ischemia model, cotransplantation of ECFCs with ADSCs was significantly superior to UCMSCs and EMSCs in promoting perfusion recovery and limb salvage. Furthermore, ADSC-conditioned medium (CM) contained more proangiogenic factors (such as vascular endothelial growth factor-A, platelet-derived growth factor BB, and basic fibroblast growth factor) and less inhibitory factor (such as thrombospondin-1), when compared with UCMSC-CM and EMSC-CM. And ADSC-CM more durably stabilized the vascular-like structures formed by ECFCs on matrigel and promoted ECFCs migration more efficiently. In summary, MSCs from adipose show significantly efficient promotion on angiogenesis both in vitro and in vivo than UCMSCs and EMSCs. Hence, ADSCs may be recommended as a more suitable source for treating hindlimb ischemia.