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1.  Co-culture of Retinal and Endothelial Cells Results in the Modulation of Genes Critical to Retinal Neovascularization 
Vascular Cell  2011;3:27.
Neovascularization (angiogenesis) is a multistep process, controlled by opposing regulatory factors, which plays a crucial role in several ocular diseases. It often results in vitreous hemorrhage, retinal detachment, neovascularization glaucoma and subsequent vision loss. Hypoxia is considered to be one of the key factors to trigger angiogenesis by inducing angiogenic factors (like VEGF) and their receptors mediated by hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1α) a critical transcriptional factor. Another factor, nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) also regulates many of the genes required for neovascularization, and can also be activated by hypoxia. The aim of this study was to elucidate the mechanism of interaction between HRPC and HUVEC that modulates a neovascularization response.
Human retinal progenitor cells (HRPC) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) were cultured/co-cultured under normoxia (control) (20% O2) or hypoxia (1% O2) condition for 24 hr. Controls were monolayer cultures of each cell type maintained alone. We examined the secretion of VEGF by ELISA and influence of conditioned media on blood vessel growth (capillary-like structures) via an angiogenesis assay. Total RNA and protein were extracted from the HRPC and HUVEC (cultured and co-cultured) and analyzed for the expression of VEGF, VEGFR-2, NFκB and HIF-1α by RT-PCR and Western blotting. The cellular localization of NFκB and HIF-1α were studied by immunofluorescence and Western blotting.
We found that hypoxia increased exogenous VEGF expression 4-fold in HRPC with a further 2-fold increase when cultured with HUVEC. Additionally, we found that hypoxia induced the expression of the VEGF receptor (VEGFR-2) for HRPC co-cultured with HUVEC. Hypoxia treatment significantly enhanced (8- to 10-fold higher than normoxia controls) VEGF secretion into media whether cells were cultured alone or in a co-culture. Also, hypoxia was found to result in a 3- and 2-fold increase in NFκB and HIF-1α mRNA expression by HRPC and a 4- and 6-fold increase in NFκB and HIF-1α protein by co-cultures, whether non-contacting or contacting.
Treatment of HRPC cells with hypoxic HUVEC-CM activated and promoted the translocation of NFκB and HIF-1α to the nuclear compartment. This finding was subsequently confirmed by finding that hypoxic HUVEC-CM resulted in higher expression of NFκB and HIF-1α in the nuclear fraction of HRPC and corresponding decrease in cytoplasmic NFκB and HIF-1α. Lastly, hypoxic conditioned media induced a greater formation of capillary-like structures (angiogenic response) compared to control conditioned media. This effect was attenuated by exogenous anti-human VEGF antibody, suggesting that VEGF was the primary factor in the hypoxic conditioned media responsible for the angiogenic response.
These findings suggest that intercellular communications between HRPC and HUVEC lead to the modulation of expression of transcription factors associated with the production of pro-angiogenic factors under hypoxic conditions, which are necessary for an enhanced neovascular response. Our data suggest that the hypoxia treatment results in the up-regulation of both mRNA and protein expression for VEGF and VEGFR-2 through the translocation of NFκB and HIF-1α into the nucleus, and results in enhanced HRPC-induced neovascularization. Hence, a better understanding of the underlying mechanism for these interactions might open perspectives for future retinal neovascularization therapy.
PMCID: PMC3253041  PMID: 22112782
Neovascularization; Human retinal progenitor cells (HRPC); Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC); Hypoxia, Vascular endothelial growth factor; Conditioned medium; Co-culture
2.  The association between retraction of the torn rotator cuff and increasing expression of hypoxia inducible factor 1α and vascular endothelial growth factor expression: an immunohistological study 
Differing levels of tendon retraction are found in full-thickness rotator cuff tears. The pathophysiology of tendon degeneration and retraction is unclear. Neoangiogenesis in tendon parenchyma indicates degeneration. Hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are important inducers of neoangiogenesis. Rotator cuff tendons rupture leads to fatty muscle infiltration (FI) and muscle atrophy (MA). The aim of this study is to clarify the relationship between HIF and VEGF expression, neoangiogenesis, FI, and MA in tendon retraction found in full-thickness rotator cuff tears.
Rotator cuff tendon samples of 33 patients with full-thickness medium-sized rotator cuff tears were harvested during reconstructive surgery. The samples were dehydrated and paraffin embedded. For immunohistological determination of VEGF and HIF expression, sample slices were strained with VEGF and HIF antibody dilution. Vessel density and vessel size were determined after Masson-Goldner staining of sample slices. The extent of tendon retraction was determined intraoperatively according to Patte's classification. Patients were assigned to 4 categories based upon Patte tendon retraction grade, including one control group. FI and MA were measured on standardized preoperative shoulder MRI.
HIF and VEGF expression, FI, and MA were significantly higher in torn cuff samples compared with healthy tissue (p < 0.05). HIF and VEGF expression, and vessel density significantly increased with extent of tendon retraction (p < 0.05). A correlation between HIF/VEGF expression and FI and MA could be found (p < 0.05). There was no significant correlation between HIF/VEGF expression and neovascularity (p > 0.05)
Tendon retraction in full-thickness medium-sized rotator cuff tears is characterized by neovascularity, increased VEGF/HIF expression, FI, and MA. VEGF expression and neovascularity may be effective monitoring tools to assess tendon degeneration.
PMCID: PMC2958987  PMID: 20932296
3.  Expression of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha and its downstream targets in fibroepithelial tumors of the breast 
Breast Cancer Research  2005;7(5):R808-R818.
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) alpha and its downstream targets carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are key factors in the survival of proliferating tumor cells in a hypoxic microenvironment. We studied the expression and prognostic relevance of HIF-1α and its downstream targets in phyllodes tumors and fibroadenomas of the breast.
The expression of HIF-1α, CAIX, VEGF and p53 was investigated by immunohistochemistry in a group of 37 primary phyllodes tumors and 30 fibroadenomas with known clinical follow-up. The tumor microvasculature was visualized by immunohistochemistry for CD31. Proliferation was assessed by Ki67 immunostaining and mitotic counts. Being biphasic tumors, immunoquantification was performed in the stroma and epithelium.
Only two fibroadenomas displayed low-level stromal HIF-1α reactivity in the absence of CAIX expression. Stromal HIF-1α expression was positively correlated with phyllodes tumor grade (P = 0.001), with proliferation as measured by Ki67 expression (P < 0.001) and number of mitoses (P < 0.001), with p53 accumulation (P = 0.003), and with global (P = 0.015) and hot-spot (P = 0.031) microvessel counts, but not with CAIX expression. Interestingly, concerted CAIX and HIF-1α expression was frequently found in morphologically normal epithelium of phyllodes tumors. The distance from the epithelium to the nearest microvessels was higher in phyllodes tumors as compared with in fibroadenomas. Microvessel counts as such did not differ between fibroadenomas and phyllodes tumors, however. High expression of VEGF was regularly found in both tumors, with only a positive relation between stromal VEGF and grade in phyllodes tumors (P = 0.016). Stromal HIF-1α overexpression in phyllodes tumors was predictive of disease-free survival (P = 0.032).
These results indicate that HIF-1α expression is associated with diminished disease-free survival and may play an important role in stromal progression of breast phyllodes tumors. In view of the absence of stromal CAIX expression in phyllodes tumors, stromal upregulation of HIF-1α most probably arises from hypoxia-independent pathways, with p53 inactivation as one possible cause. In contrast, coexpression of HIF-1α and CAIX in the epithelium in phyllodes tumors points to epithelial hypoxia, most probably caused by relatively distant blood vessels. On the other hand, HIF-1α and CAIX seem to be of minor relevance in breast fibroadenomas.
PMCID: PMC1242154  PMID: 16168127
4.  Expression of Hypoxia-Inducible Factor (HIF)-1α and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)-D As Outcome Predictors in Resected Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma 
Disease markers  2008;25(3):141-148.
Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are important angiogenic factors in human cancers. Relative to VEGF-C, prognostic significance of VEGF-D expression and its association with HIF-1α expression remain elusive in esophageal squamous cell cancer (ESCC). We studied expression of HIF-1α and VEGF-D using immunohistochemistry in 85 resected ESCC specimens and correlated results with patients' clinicopathologic parameters and survival. Association between expression of HIF-1α and VEGF-D was investigated using a concordance analysis. High expression of HIF-1α and VEGF-D was observed in 52 (61.2%) and 56 (65.9%) patients, respectively. HIF-1α expression correlated well with tumor stage (P = 0.041), whereas VEGF-D expression correlated with tumor stage (P = 0.027) and N status (P = 0.019). Groups of high HIF-1α and VEGF-D showed worse survivals than those of low expression (P = 0.002 and 0.001, respectively). Multivariate analysis supported expression of HIF-1α and VEGF-D as significant survival predictors (P = 0.044 and 0.035, respectively). A concordance rate of 69.5% was observed between expression of HIF-1α and VEGF-D. In conclusion, protein expression of HIF-1α and VEGF-D are independent prognostic predictors. An association between expression of HIF-1α and VEGF-D suggests that these two angiogenic factors are essential in progression of ESCC.
PMCID: PMC3827791  PMID: 19096126
vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-D; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; prognosis; survival
5.  Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor D is associated with hypoxia inducible factor (HIF-1α) and the HIF-1α target gene DEC1, but not lymph node metastasis in primary human breast carcinomas 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2004;57(8):829-834.
Background: Vascular endothelial growth factor D (VEGF-D) induces angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. Nodal metastasis is recognised as a powerful prognostic marker in breast carcinoma, but the molecular mechanisms underlying this process are unknown. Although it has been suggested that VEGF-D may regulate nodal metastasis, this is based largely on animal models, its role in human disease being unclear.
Aims: To measure the pattern and degree of VEGF-D protein expression in normal and neoplastic human breast tissues.
Methods: The pattern and degree of VEGF-D expression was measured in normal tissue and invasive carcinomas, and expression was correlated with clinicopathological parameters, hypoxia markers, and survival. Because other VEGF family members are affected by oestrogen, whether VEGF-D is regulated by oestrogen in breast cancer cell lines was also assessed.
Results: VEGF-D was significantly positively associated with hypoxia inducible factor (HIF-1α) (p = 0.03) and the HIF-1α regulated gene DEC1 (p = 0.001), but not lymph node status, the number of involved lymph nodes, patient age, tumour size, tumour grade, lymphovascular invasion, oestrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, c-erb-B2, or tumour histology (all p>0.05). There was no significant relation between tumour VEGF-D expression and relapse free (p = 0.78) or overall (p = 0.94) survival. VEGF-D expression was enhanced by oestrogen in MCF-7 and T47D breast cancer cells, and was blocked by hydroxytamoxifen.
Conclusion: These findings support a role for hypoxia and oestrogen induced VEGF-D in human breast cancer and also suggest that tamoxifen and related oestrogen antagonists may exert some of their antitumour effects through the abrogation of VEGF-D induced function.
PMCID: PMC1770393  PMID: 15280403
metastasis; hypoxia; lymphangiogenesis; angiogenesis; vascular endothelial growth factor D
6.  Neoadjuvant multidrug chemotherapy including High-Dose Methotrexate modifies VEGF expression in Osteosarcoma: an immunohistochemical analysis 
Angiogenesis plays a role in the progression of osteosarcoma, as well as in other mesenchymal tumors and carcinomas, and it is most commonly assessed by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression or tumor CD31-positive microvessel density (MVD). Tumor VEGF expression is predictive of poor prognosis, and chemotherapy can affect the selection of angiogenic pattern. The aim of the study was to investigate the clinical and prognostic significance of VEGF and CD31 in osteosarcoma, both at diagnosis and after neoadjuvant chemotherapy, in order to identify a potential role of chemotherapy in angiogenic phenotype.
A retrospective analysis was performed on 16 patients with high grade osteosarcoma. In each case archival pre-treatment biopsy tissue and post-chemotherapy tumor specimens were immunohistochemically stained against CD31 and VEGF, as markers of angiogenic proliferation both in newly diagnosed primary osteosarcoma and after multidrug chemotherapy including high-dose methotrexate (HDMTX). The correlation between clinicopathological parameters and the degree of tumor VEGF and CD31 expression was statistically assessed using the χ2 test verified with Yates' test for comparison of two groups. Significance was set at p < 0,05.
Expression of VEGF was positive in 11 cases/16 of cases at diagnosis. Moreover, 8 cases/16 untreated osteosarcomas were CD31-negative, but the other 8 showed an high expression of CD31. VEGF expression in viable tumor cells after neoadjuvant chemotherapy was observed in all cases; in particular, there was an increased VEGF expression (post-chemotherapy VEGF - biopsy VEGF) in 11 cases/16. CD31 expression increased in 11 cases/16 and decreased in 3 cases after chemotherapy. The data relating to the change in staining following chemotherapy appear statistically significant for VEGF expression (p < 0,05), but not for CD31 (p > 0,05).
Even if the study included few patients, these results confirm that VEGF and CD31 expression is affected by multidrug chemotherapy including HDMTX. The expression of angiogenic factors that increase microvessel density (MVD) can contribute to the penetration of chemotherapeutic drugs into the tumor in the adjuvant stage of treatment. So VEGF could have a paradoxical effect: it is associated with a poor outcome but it could be a potential target for anti-angiogenic therapy.
PMCID: PMC2835659  PMID: 20158913
7.  Relation of hypoxia inducible factor 1α and 2α in operable non-small cell lung cancer to angiogenic/molecular profile of tumours and survival 
British Journal of Cancer  2001;85(6):881-890.
Hypoxia inducible factors HIF1α and HIF2α are important proteins involved in the regulation of the transcription of a variety of genes related to erythropoiesis, glycolysis and angiogenesis. Hypoxic stimulation results in rapid increase of the HIF1α and 2α protein levels, as a consequence of a redox-sensitive stabilization. The HIFαs enter the nucleus, heterodimerize with the HIF1β protein, and bind to DNA at the hypoxia response elements (HREs) of target genes. In this study we evaluated the immunohistochemical expression of these proteins in 108 tissue samples from non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and in normal lung tissues. Both proteins showed a mixed cytoplasmic/nuclear pattern of expression in cancer cells, tumoural vessels and tumour-infiltrating macrophages, as well as in areas of metaplasia, while normal lung components showed negative or very weak cytoplasmic staining. Positive HIF1α and HIF2α expression was noted in 68/108 (62%) and in 54/108 (50%) of cases respectively. Correlation analysis of HIF2α expression with HIF1α expression showed a significant association (P < 0.0001, r = 0.44). A strong association of the expression of both proteins with the angiogenic factors VEGF (P < 0.004), PD-ECGF (P < 0.003) and bFGF (P < 0.04) was noted. HIF1α correlated with the expression of bek-bFGF receptor expression (P = 0.01), while HIF2α was associated with intense VEGF/KDR-activated vascularization (P = 0.002). HIF2α protein was less frequently expressed in cases with a medium microvessel density (MVD); a high rate of expression was noted in cases with both low and high MVD (P = 0.006). Analysis of overall survival showed that HIF2α expression was related to poor outcome (P = 0.008), even in the group of patients with low MVD (P = 0.009). HIF1α expression was marginally associated with poor prognosis (P = 0.08). In multivariate analysis HIF2α expression was an independent prognostic indicator (P = 0.006, t-ratio 2.7). We conclude that HIF1α and HIF2α overexpression is a common event in NSCLC, which is related to the up-regulation of various angiogenic factors and with poor prognosis. Targeting the HIF pathway may prove of importance in the treatment of NSCLC. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2375073  PMID: 11556841
non-small-cell lung cancer; hypoxia inducible factors; angiogenesis; prognosis
8.  Hypoxia inducible factor-1α correlates with vascular endothelial growth factor A and C indicating worse prognosis in clear cell renal cell carcinoma 
The role of angiogenesis in the pathogenesis of renal cell carcinoma is well recognized, however, the influence of tumor cells in this activity has not yet been fully clarified. The aim of this study was to analyze the expression of hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), a regulatory factor of angiogenic switch, in comparison to vascular endothelial growth factor A and C (VEGF-A and VEGF-C), recognized to be involved in blood and lymph vessel neoangiogenesis, with potential association in the prognosis of patients with renal cell carcinoma.
Ninety-four patients with diagnosis of clear cell renal cell carcinomas (CCRCC), all clinicopathological characteristics and overall survival were unrolled in this study. Immunohistochemicaly VEGF-A, VEGF-C, HIF-1α and Ki67 were detected on tumor cells and the staining was performed on tissue microarrays (TMA). The staining was evaluated as a percentage of cytoplasmic or nuclear positive tumor cells.
Variable expression of all three proteins was confirmed. Both angiogenic factors demonstrated perimembranous or diffuse cytoplasmic staining, with diffuse pattern positively associated (p < 0.001). Nuclear HIF-1α expression (nHIF-1α) showed inverse correlation with diffuse cytoplasmic VEGF-A (p = 0.002) and VEGF-C (p = 0.053), while cytoplasmic HIF-1α expression (cHIF-1α) showed positive correlation with diffuse staining of both angiogenic factors (p < 0.001; p < 0.001, respectively). In comparison to clinicopathological characteristics, a higher nuclear grade (p = 0.006; p < 0.001, respectively), larger tumor size (p = 0.009; p = 0.015, respectively), higher stage (p = 0.023; p = 0.027, respectively) and shorter survival (p = 0.018; p = 0.024, respectively) were associated with overexpression of cHIF-1α and diffuse cytoplasmic VEGF-A expression. In contrary, overexpression of nHIF-1α was associated with better diagnostic parameters i.e. lower nuclear grade (p = 0.006), smaller tumor size (p = 0.057), and longer survival (p = 0.005).
Overexpression of VEGF-A and cHIF-1α in tumor cells highlights a more aggressive subtype of CCRCC that might have some clinical implications. The significance of nHIF-1α expression associated with better differentiated tumors should be further elucidated.
PMCID: PMC2664792  PMID: 19302703
9.  HER2 (neu) Signaling Increases the Rate of Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1α (HIF-1α) Synthesis: Novel Mechanism for HIF-1-Mediated Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Expression 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(12):3995-4004.
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is a transcriptional activator composed of HIF-1α and HIF-1β subunits. Several dozen HIF-1 targets are known, including the gene encoding vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Under hypoxic conditions, HIF-1α expression increases as a result of decreased ubiquitination and degradation. The tumor suppressors VHL (von Hippel-Lindau protein) and p53 target HIF-1α for ubiquitination such that their inactivation in tumor cells increases the half-life of HIF-1α. Increased phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and AKT or decreased PTEN activity in prostate cancer cells also increases HIF-1α expression by an undefined mechanism. In breast cancer, increased activity of the HER2 (also known as neu) receptor tyrosine kinase is associated with increased tumor grade, chemotherapy resistance, and decreased patient survival. HER2 has also been implicated as an inducer of VEGF expression. Here we demonstrate that HER2 signaling induced by overexpression in mouse 3T3 cells or heregulin stimulation of human MCF-7 breast cancer cells results in increased HIF-1α protein and VEGF mRNA expression that is dependent upon activity of PI3K, AKT (also known as protein kinase B), and the downstream kinase FRAP (FKBP-rapamycin-associated protein). In contrast to other inducers of HIF-1 expression, heregulin stimulation does not affect the half-life of HIF-1α but instead stimulates HIF-1α synthesis in a rapamycin-dependent manner. The 5′-untranslated region of HIF-1α mRNA directs heregulin-inducible expression of a heterologous protein. These data provide a molecular basis for VEGF induction and tumor angiogenesis by heregulin-HER2 signaling and establish a novel mechanism for the regulation of HIF-1α expression.
PMCID: PMC87062  PMID: 11359907
10.  Inhibition of VEGF expression and corneal neovascularization by shRNA targeting HIF-1α in a mouse model of closed eye contact lens wear 
Molecular Vision  2012;18:864-873.
Inappropriate contact lens (CL) use and care often lead to corneal neovascularization (corneal NV). We used mouse eyes which wore CL as the animal model to assess the reason for corneal NV with CL wear. The similar and overlapping activity of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and the potent angiogenic hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) called for a study of the temporal relationship in the expression of these two autocoids. We determined the time dependent expression of HIF-1α and correlated it to that of VEGF expression in the mouse model of closed eye with CL wear.
Mouse eyes were fitted with CL followed by a silk suture tarsorrhaphy. The anterior surface was analyzed at 4, 7, and 10 days after tarsorrhaphy by slit lamp and corneal NV. HIF-1α and VEGF levels were measured by reverse transcription PCR, western blotting and immunofluorescence with specific primers and antibodies. We used shRNA targeting HIF-1α to substantiate the link between HIF-1α, VEGF expression, and angiogenesis in the CL wear model.
Corneal NV scores increased in a time dependent manner in the model of closed eye CL induced hypoxic injury. Corneal epithelial HIF-1α and VEGF expression increased in a time dependent manner. The prolonged hypoxic state brought by closed eye CL wear induced a time dependent neovascular response which was significantly attenuated by HIF-1α specific shRNA but not by nonspecific shRNA. Both HIF-1α and VEGF levels were reduced significantly in corneal homogenates from eyes treated with the HIF-1α specific shRNA.
The present study documented the increased expression of HIF-1α in the corneal epithelium during CL wear. It also demonstrated the presence of VEGF in the corneal epithelium and its increased expression in this model. Altogether, the results of this study raised the possibility of interaction between HIF-1α and VEGF, in mediating the neovascularization response induced by the prolonged hypoxic state brought about by closed eye CL wear. The results strongly implicated corneal HIF-1α as a component of the inflammatory and neovascular cascade initiated by hypoxic and further suggested that HIF-1α was a proximal regulator of VEGF expression in this model.
PMCID: PMC3327437  PMID: 22511848
11.  Hypoxic signature of microRNAs in glioblastoma: insights from small RNA deep sequencing 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):686.
Hypoxia is a critical aspect of the glioma microenvironment and has been associated with poor prognosis and resistance to various therapies. However, the mechanisms responsible for hypoxic survival of glioma cells remain unclear. Recent studies strongly suggest that microRNAs act as critical mediators of the hypoxic response. We thus hypothesized their prominent role in hypoxia resistance in glioblastoma (GBM) and aimed to identify those.
With this study, we present the first detailed analysis of small RNA transcriptome of cell line U87MG, a grade IV glioma cell line, and its alteration under hypoxic condition. Based on deep sequencing and microarray data, we identify a set of hypoxia regulated microRNAs, with the miR-210-3p and its isomiRs showing highest induction in GBM cell lines U87MG and U251MG. We show miR-210-3p, miR-1275, miR-376c-3p, miR-23b-3p, miR-193a-3p and miR-145-5p to be up-regulated, while miR-92b-3p, miR-20a-5p, miR-10b-5p, miR-181a-2-3p and miR-185-5p are down-regulated by hypoxia. Interestingly, certain hypoxia-induced miRNAs are also known to be over-expressed in GBM tumors, suggesting that hypoxia may be one of the factors involved in establishing the miRNA signature of GBM. Transcription factor binding sites for Hypoxia inducible factor 1 A (HIF1A) were identified in the promoter region (5 kb upstream) of 30 hypoxia-induced miRNAs. HIF-1A over-expression and silencing studies show regulation of specific miRNAs, including miR-210-3p, to be HIF1A dependent. On the other hand, miR-210-3p leads to an increase in transcriptional activity of HIF and its target genes vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and carbonic anhydrase 9 (CA9). MiR-210-3p levels were found to be high in GBM patient samples and showed good correlation with the known hypoxia markers CA9 and VEGF. We show that miR-210-3p promotes hypoxic survival and chemoresistance in GBM cells and targets a negative regulator of hypoxic response, HIF3A. Additionally, a total of 139 novel miRNAs were discovered by the analysis of deep sequencing data and three of these were found to be differentially expressed under hypoxia.
Overall, our study reveals a novel miRNA signature of hypoxia in GBM and suggests miR-210-3p to be an oncogenic player and a novel potential intrinsic marker of hypoxia in glioblastoma.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-686) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4148931  PMID: 25129238
Glioblastoma; MicroRNA; Deep sequencing; U87MG; U251MG; A172; miR-210
12.  Hypoxia and hypoglycaemia in Ewing's sarcoma and osteosarcoma: regulation and phenotypic effects of Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:372.
Hypoxia regulates gene expression via the transcription factor HIF (Hypoxia-Inducible Factor). Little is known regarding HIF expression and function in primary bone sarcomas. We describe HIF expression and phenotypic effects of hypoxia, hypoglycaemia and HIF in Ewing's sarcoma and osteosarcoma.
HIF-1α and HIF-2α immunohistochemistry was performed on a Ewing's tumour tissue array. Ewing's sarcoma and osteosarcoma cell lines were assessed for HIF pathway induction by Western blot, luciferase assay and ELISA. Effects of hypoxia, hypoglycaemia and isoform-specific HIF siRNA were assessed on proliferation, apoptosis and migration.
17/56 Ewing's tumours were HIF-1α-positive, 15 HIF-2α-positive and 10 positive for HIF-1α and HIF-2α. Expression of HIF-1α and cleaved caspase 3 localised to necrotic areas. Hypoxia induced HIF-1α and HIF-2α in Ewing's and osteosarcoma cell lines while hypoglycaemia specifically induced HIF-2α in Ewing's. Downstream transcription was HIF-1α-dependent in Ewing's sarcoma, but regulated by both isoforms in osteosarcoma. In both cell types hypoglycaemia reduced cellular proliferation by ≥ 45%, hypoxia increased apoptosis and HIF siRNA modulated hypoxic proliferation and migration.
Co-localisation of HIF-1α and necrosis in Ewing's sarcoma suggests a role for hypoxia and/or hypoglycaemia in in vivo induction of HIF. In vitro data implicates hypoxia as the primary HIF stimulus in both Ewing's and osteosarcoma, driving effects on proliferation and apoptosis. These results provide a foundation from which to advance understanding of HIF function in the pathobiology of primary bone sarcomas.
PMCID: PMC2918574  PMID: 20637078
13.  Activation of vascular endothelial growth factor gene transcription by hypoxia-inducible factor 1. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1996;16(9):4604-4613.
Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is induced in cells exposed to hypoxia or ischemia. Neovascularization stimulated by VEGF occurs in several important clinical contexts, including myocardial ischemia, retinal disease, and tumor growth. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is a heterodimeric basic helix-loop-helix protein that activates transcription of the human erythropoietin gene in hypoxic cells. Here we demonstrate the involvement of HIF-1 in the activation of VEGF transcription. VEGF 5'-flanking sequences mediated transcriptional activation of reporter gene expression in hypoxic Hep3B cells. A 47-bp sequence located 985 to 939 bp 5' to the VEGF transcription initiation site mediated hypoxia-inducible reporter gene expression directed by a simian virus 40 promoter element that was otherwise minimally responsive to hypoxia. When reporters containing VEGF sequences, in the context of the native VEGF or heterologous simian virus 40 promoter, were cotransfected with expression vectors encoding HIF-1alpha and HIF-1beta (ARNT [aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator]), reporter gene transcription was much greater in both hypoxic and nonhypoxic cells than in cells transfected with the reporter alone. A HIF-1 binding site was demonstrated in the 47-bp hypoxia response element, and a 3-bp substitution eliminated the ability of the element to bind HIF-1 and to activate transcription in response to hypoxia and/or recombinant HIF-1. Cotransfection of cells with an expression vector encoding a dominant negative form of HIF-1alpha inhibited the activation of reporter transcription in hypoxic cells in a dose-dependent manner. VEGF mRNA was not induced by hypoxia in mutant cells that do not express the HIF-1beta (ARNT) subunit. These findings implicate HIF-1 in the activation of VEGF transcription in hypoxic cells.
PMCID: PMC231459  PMID: 8756616
14.  Effect of advanced glycation end products on the expression of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α and vascular endothelial growth factor proteins in RF/6A cells 
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) on the expression of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) proteins in RF/6A cells cultured in vitro, and to investigate the association between the expression of HIF-1α and VEGF proteins. RF/6A cells were cultured in vitro and treated with AGEs and non-glycated albumin control at various concentrations (0, 50, 100, 200, 400 and 800 mg/l) for 24 h. The expression of the VEGF protein was detected by ELISA, and western blot analysis was used to determine the levels of HIF-1α protein. The expression of HIF-1α and VEGF proteins was significantly higher in the AGE group compared with the non-glycated control group (all P<0.05). With the increase in concentration of AGEs, the expression levels of HIF-1α and VEGF protein increased and reached a maximum at 200 mg/l AGE, then decreased at 400 and 800 mg/l. However this effect was not observed in the non-glycated control groups. There was a positive correlation between the expression of HIF-1α and VEGF (P<0.05). AGEs induced the expression of HIF-1α and VEGF proteins in RF/6A cells in a concentration-dependent manner. AGEs may upregulate the expression of VEGF protein by increasing the levels of HIF-1α protein, demonstrating the potential role of HIF-1α-targeted therapy in neovascularization.
PMCID: PMC3671897  PMID: 23737911
hypoxia-inducible factor-1α; vascular endothelial growth factor; advanced glycation end products; RF/6A cells
15.  HIF-1α/GPER signaling mediates the expression of VEGF induced by hypoxia in breast cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) 
Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) play a pivotal role in cancer progression by contributing to invasion, metastasis and angiogenesis. Solid tumors possess a unique microenvironment characterized by local hypoxia, which induces gene expression changes and biological features leading to poor outcomes. Hypoxia Inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1) is the main transcription factor that mediates the cell response to hypoxia through different mechanisms that include the regulation of genes strongly associated with cancer aggressiveness. Among the HIF-1 target genes, the G-protein estrogen receptor (GPER) exerts a stimulatory role in diverse types of cancer cells and in CAFs.
We evaluated the regulation and function of the key angiogenic mediator vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in CAFs exposed to hypoxia. Gene expression studies, Western blotting analysis and immunofluorescence experiments were performed in CAFs and breast cancer cells in the presence of cobalt chloride (CoCl2) or cultured under low oxygen tension (2% O2), in order to analyze the involvement of the HIF-1α/GPER signaling in the biological responses to hypoxia. We also explored the role of the HIF-1α/GPER transduction pathway in functional assays like tube formation in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and cell migration in CAFs.
We first determined that hypoxia induces the expression of HIF-1α and GPER in CAFs, then we ascertained that the HIF-1α/GPER signaling is involved in the regulation of VEGF expression in breast cancer cells and in CAFs exposed to hypoxia. We also assessed by ChIP assay that HIF-1α and GPER are both recruited to the VEGF promoter sequence and required for VEGF promoter stimulation upon hypoxic condition. As a biological counterpart of these findings, conditioned medium from hypoxic CAFs promoted tube formation in HUVECs in a HIF-1α/GPER dependent manner. The functional cooperation between HIF-1α and GPER in CAFs was also evidenced in the hypoxia-induced cell migration, which involved a further target of the HIF-1α/GPER signaling like connective tissue growth factor (CTGF).
The present results provide novel insight into the role elicited by the HIF-1α/GPER transduction pathway in CAFs towards the hypoxia-dependent tumor angiogenesis. Our findings further extend the molecular mechanisms through which the tumor microenvironment may contribute to cancer progression.
PMCID: PMC3978922  PMID: 23947803
16.  Effects of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α silencing on the proliferation of CBRH-7919 hepatoma cells 
AIM: To study the effects of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) silencing on the proliferation of hypoxic CBRH-7919 rat hepatoma cells.
METHODS: The CBRH-7919 rat hepatoma cell line was used in this study and the hypoxic model was constructed using CoCl2. The HIF-1α-specific RNAi sequences were designed according to the gene coding sequence of rat HIF-1α obtained from GeneBank. The secondary structure of the HIF-1α gene sequence was analyzed using RNA draw software. The small interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection mixture was produced by mixing the siRNA and Lipofectamine2000TM, and transfected into the hypoxic hepatoma cells. Real time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blotting assay were used to detect the expression levels of mRNA and protein. HIF-1α and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) mRNA was determined using real time RT-PCR; the protein expression levels of AKT, p-AKT, p21 and cyclinD1 were determined using Western blotting. The proliferation of hepatoma cells was observed using the methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium (MTT) assay and the bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation cell proliferation assay.
RESULTS: Under induced hypoxia, the viability of the hepatoma cells reached a minimum at 800 μmol/L CoCl2; the viability of the cells was relatively high at CoCl2 concentrations between 100 μmol/L and 200 μmol/L. Under hypoxia, the mRNA and protein expression levels of HIF-1α and VEGF were significantly higher than that of hepatoma cells that were cultured in normaxia. HIF-1α-specific RNAi sequences were successfully transfected into hepatoma cells. The transfection of specific siRNAs significantly inhibited the mRNA and protein expression levels of HIF-1α and VEGF, along with the protein expression levels of p-AKT and cyclinD1; the protein expression of p21 was significantly increased, and there was no significant difference in the expression of AKT. The MTT assay showed that the amount of hepatoma cells in S phase in the siRNA transfection group was obviously smaller than that in the control group; in the siRNA transfection group, the amount of hepatoma cells in G1 phase was more than that in the control group. The BrdU incorporation assay showed that the number of BrdU positive hepatoma cells in the siRNA transfection group was less than that in the control group. The data of the MTT assay and BrdU incorporation assay suggested that HIF-1α silencing using siRNAs significantly inhibited the proliferation of hepatoma cells.
CONCLUSION: Hypoxia increases the expression of HIF-1α, and HIF-1α silencing significantly inhibits the proliferation of hypoxic CBRH-7919 rat hepatoma cells.
PMCID: PMC3607751  PMID: 23555163
RNA interference; Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α; Vascular endothelial growth factor; Protein kinase B; CBRH-7919 hepatoma cells
17.  Upregulation of hypoxia inducible factor 1α mRNA is associated with elevated vascular endothelial growth factor expression and excessive angiogenesis and predicts a poor prognosis in gastric carcinoma 
AIM: To investigate the implication of the hypoxia inducible factor HIF-1α mRNA in gastric carcinoma and its relation to the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) protein, tumor angiogenesis invasion/metastasis and the patient's survival.
METHODS: In situ hybridization was used to examine expression of HIF-1α mRNA, and immunohistochemical staining was used to examine expression of VEGF protein and CD34 in 118 specimens from patients with gastric carcinoma.
RESULTS: The positive rates of HIF-1α mRNA and VEGF protein were 49.15% and 55.92%, respectively. Positive expressions of HIF-1α and VEGF in stage T3-T4 tumors and those with vessel invasion, lymph node metastasis and distant metastasis were dramatically stronger than stage T1-T2 cases and those without vessel invasion, lymph node metastasis and distant metastasis. The mean microvascular density (MVD) in stage T3-T4 tumors and those with vessel invasion, lymph node metastasis and distant metastasis was significantly higher than stage T1-T2 tumors and those without vessel invasion, lymph node metastasis and distant metastasis. The mean MVD in tumors with positive HIF-1α and VEGF expression was significantly higher than that in tumors with negative HIF-1α and VEGF expression. The expression of HIF-1α was positively correlated with VEGF protein. There were positive correlations between MVD and expression of HIF-1α and VEGF. The mean survival time and the 5-year survival rate in cases with positive expression HIF-1α and VEGF and MVD value ≥ 41.5/0.72 mm2 were significantly lower than those with negative expression of HIF-1α and VEGF and MVD value < 41.5/0.72 mm2.
CONCLUSION: Overexpression of HIF-1α is found in gastric carcinoma. HIF-1α may induce the angiogenesis in gastric carcinoma by upregulating the transcription of VEGF gene, and take part in tumor invasion and metastasis. They can be used as prognostic markers of gastric cancer in clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC4146946  PMID: 17461470
Gastric carcinoma; HIF-1α; Vascular endothelial growth factor; Microvascular density; Prognosis
18.  Zeaxanthin Inhibits Hypoxia-Induced VEGF Secretion by RPE Cells through Decreased Protein Levels of Hypoxia-Inducible Factors-1α 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:687386.
Hypoxia is the most important stimulus leading to upregulation of VEGF in the retina and this is caused by accumulation of hypoxia-inducible factors-1α (HIF-1α) protein. The effects of zeaxanthin, a natural phytochemical, on the VEGF and HIF-1α expression in the primary culture of human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells were studied. An in vitro RPE cell hypoxia model was established by placing cells under 1% oxygen pressure or by adding cobalt chloride (CoCl2) to the culture medium. RPE cells and conditioned media were collected from cultures treated with and without zeaxanthin under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. VEGF and HIF-1α protein and RNA levels were measured by ELISA kits and RT-PCR, respectively. Hypoxia caused a significant increase of VEGF expression and accumulation of HIF-1α in RPE cells. Zeaxanthin at 50–150 μM significantly inhibited the expression of VEGF and accumulation of HIF-1α protein caused by hypoxia but did not affect expression of VEGF and HIF-1α under normoxic conditions. This is the first report on the effect of zeaxanthin on VEGF and HIF-1α levels in cultured RPE cells and suggests that zeaxanthin may have potential value in the prevention and treatment of various retinal diseases associated with vascular leakage and neovascularization.
PMCID: PMC4320873
19.  Expression of HIF-1alpha and VEGF in colorectal cancer: association with clinical outcomes and prognostic implications 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:432.
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1α) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are frequently overexpressed in numerous types of cancers and are known to be important regulators of angiogenesis. Until now, few studies have been carried out to investigate the prognostic role of these factors in solid tumors, especially in colorectal cancer (CRC). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the expression of HIF-1α and VEGF in CRC tissues, and to analyze the association of these two factors with several clinical and pathological characteristics, and patients' survival.
Paraffin-embedded tissue samples were retrospectively collected from 71 CRC patients, who received surgical resection between 2001 and 2002, with a median follow-up of 5 years. We examined the patterns of expression of HIF-1α and VEGF by immunohistochemistry method. Statistical analysis was performed with univariate tests and multivariate Cox proportional hazards model to evaluate the differences.
Expression of HIF-1α and VEGF was positively observed in 54.93% and 56.34% among the patients, respectively. HIF-1α and VEGF status were significantly associated with tumor stage, lymph nodes and liver metastases (P < 0.05). Expression of both HIF-1α and VEGF remained significantly associated with overall survival (OS) (P < 0.01), and HIF-1α was positively correlative to VEGF in CRC (r = 0.72, P < 0.001).
HIF-1α and VEGF could be used as biomarkers indicating tumors in advanced stage and independently implied poor prognosis in patients with CRC. Treatment that inhibits HIF-1α might be a promising targeted approach in CRC to exhibit its potential to improve outcomes in future perspective, just as VEGF targeting has proved to be.
PMCID: PMC2797529  PMID: 20003271
20.  Expression Characteristics of Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1α and Its Clinical Values in Diagnosis and Prognosis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
Hepatitis Monthly  2011;11(10):821-828.
Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is a ubiquitously expressed oxygen-regulated transcription factor composed of α and β subunits. HIF-1 activates the transcription of various genes including those involved in the formation and metastatic growth of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
To investigate the levels of hepatic and circulating HIF-1α expression in a range of patients with liver disease in order to determine how it can be used in the diagnosis of HCC and in establishing prognosis.
Patients and Methods
Total RNA was extracted from a self-controlled HCC and paracancerous specimen. HIF-1α mRNA was amplified by nested RT-PCR and confirmed by sequencing. Tissue HIF-1α was analyzed by immunohistochemistry. The levels of HIF-1α, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) expression in the sera of 220 patients with liver disease were quantitatively detected by ELISA.
The positive staining of liver HIF-1α was brown and granule-like and was mainly present in the cytoplasm, with lower levels in the nucleus of hepatocytes. Its incidence was 80% in HCC cells and 100% in paracancerous tissues, with no significant difference in HIF-1α expression in relation to tumor number, degree of differentiation, or hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positivity, but with some correlation between HIF-1α and tumor size. HIF-1α expression was detected in the sera of HCC patients at a significantly higher level than in cases of benign liver disease, with pathological characteristics associated with the levels of circulating VEGF and Ang-2 expression, the size of the tumor, and the level of extrahepatic metastasis, but not with patients’ gender, age, or alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels.
Hepatic HIF-1α expression is associated with the development and prognosis of HCC, and circulating HIF-1α level is a useful marker for HCC diagnosis and prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3234574  PMID: 22224081
Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit; Carcinoma, Hepatocellular; Gene Expression; Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor; Angiopoietin-2
21.  Clinicopathologic significance of HIF-1α, p53, and VEGF expression and preoperative serum VEGF level in gastric cancer 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:123.
Hypoxia influences tumor growth by inducing angiogenesis and genetic alterations. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α), p53, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are all important factors in the mechanisms inherent to tumor progression. In this work, we have investigated the clinicopathologic significance of HIF-1α, p53, and VEGF expression and preoperative serum VEGF (sVEGF) level in gastric cancer.
We immunohistochemically assessed the HIF-1α, p53, and VEGF expression patterns in 114 specimens of gastric cancer. Additionally, we determined the levels of preoperative serum VEGF (sVEGF).
The positive rates of p53 and HIF-1α (diffuse, deep, intravascular pattern) were 38.6% and 15.8%, respectively. The VEGF overexpression rate was 57.9%. p53 and HIF-1α were correlated positively with the depth of invasion (P = 0.015, P = 0.001, respectively). Preoperative sVEGF and p53 levels were correlated significantly with lymph node involvement (P = 0.010, P = 0.040, respectively). VEGF overexpression was more frequently observed in the old age group (≥ 60 years old) and the intestinal type (P = 0.013, P = 0.014, respectively). However, correlations between preoperative sVEGF level and tissue HIF-1α, VEGF, and p53 were not observed. The median follow-up duration after operation was 24.5 months. HIF-1α was observed to be a poor prognostic factor of disease recurrence or progression (P = 0.002).
p53, HIF-1α and preoperative sVEGF might be markers of depth of invasion or lymph node involvement. HIF-1α expression was a poor prognostic factor of disease recurrence or progression in patients with gastric cancers.
PMCID: PMC2397429  PMID: 18452596
22.  Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α overexpression indicates poor clinical outcomes in tongue squamous cell carcinoma 
The aim of the present study was to investigate the expression of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) in tongue squamous cell carcinoma (TSCC) and to assess its possible impact on prognosis. A total of 49 tumor samples and 15 adjacent non-tumor samples from 49 patients treated between January 2000 and December 2005 at the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Hospital of Stomatology, Tongji University (Shanghai, China) were obtained for investigation with immunohistochemistry and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The expression of HIF-1α was detected in 87.76% (43/49) of the TSCC samples and in 33.33% (5/15) of the adjacent non-tumor tissues. The expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was also observed in 83.67% (41/49) of the TSCC samples and in only 20% (3/15) of the adjacent non-tumor samples at a low level. RT-PCR revealed that the mRNA expression of HIF-1α and VEGF was present in the tumor tissues; however, it was barely detected in the corresponding adjacent normal tissues. The overexpression of HIF-1α was significantly associated with T classification (P=0.01), lymphatic metastasis (P=0.05) and histological differentiation (P<0.001). Furthermore, HIF-1α overexpression was significantly associated with poor overall (P=0.001) and disease-free survival rates (P=0.01), independent of T stage and lymphatic metastasis. The Cox proportional hazards regression model demonstrated that the level of HIF-1α expression may be an independent prognostic factor for TSCC. HIF-1α overexpression was observed in TSCC and its overexpression suggests a poor prognosis. HIF-1α may be a molecular marker for predicting the prognosis of TSCC.
PMCID: PMC3524283  PMID: 23251251
hypoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor-1α; vascular endothelial growth factor; tongue squamous cell carcinoma; prognosis
23.  Overexpression of carbonic anhydrase and HIF-1α in Wilms tumours 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:390.
Overexpression of carbonic anhydrase (CA IX) is associated with poor survival in several adult-type cancers but its expression is undocumented in Wilms tumour (WT), the most common tumour of the paediatric kidney.
CA9 expression was measured using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 13 WTs and matched-paired non-neoplastic kidneys (NKs). CA IX and hypoxia-inducible factor-1 α-subunit (HIF-1α) protein were quantified in 15 matched-paired WTs and NKs using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. CA IX and HIF-1α were localised by immunostaining tissue sections of 70 WTs (untreated WTs, n = 22; chemotherapy-treated WTs, n = 40; relapsed/metastatic WTs, n = 8). CA IX-positive untreated WTs (n = 14) were immunostained for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), glucose transporter-1 (GLUT1) and CD31. Double staining for CA IX and CD31 was performed in WTs (n = 14).
CA9 full length (FL) was significantly up-regulated in WTs compared to NKs (p = 0.009) by real-time PCR. Conventional PCR showed expression of alternative splice variant in all NKs and WTs but FL in WTs only. WTs showed a 2-fold increase in CA IX protein over NKs (p = 0.01). HIF-1α levels were up-regulated in WTs compared to NKs, although the difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.09). CA IX and HIF-1α immunolocalisation were observed in 63% and 93% of WTs, respectively. The median fraction of cells staining positively for CA IX and HIF-1α was 5% and 22%, respectively. There was no significant association between the expression of either CA IX or HIF-1α and clinicopathological variables in WTs resected following chemotherapy. VEGF and GLUT1 immunoreactivity was seen in 94% and 100% with the median fraction of 10% and 60% respectively. Co-expression and co-localisation of all four hypoxia markers was seen in 7/14 and 6/14 cases respectively. CA IX was seen in well vascularised areas as well as in the peri-necrotic areas.
Carbonic anhydrase 9 (mRNA and protein), and HIF-1α protein are overexpressed in a significant portion of WTs. No significant association was detected between the expression of either CA IX or HIF-1α and clinicopathological variables in WTs resected following chemotherapy. Cellular localisation studies in untreated WTs suggest that CA IX and HIF-1α are regulated by hypoxia and non-hypoxia mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3224349  PMID: 21910893
24.  Defect of Adaptation to Hypoxia in Patients With COPD Due to Reduction of Histone Deacetylase 7 
Chest  2011;141(5):1233-1242.
Hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1 plays an important role in cellular adaptation to hypoxia by activating oxygen-regulated genes such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and erythropoietin. Sputum VEGF levels are reported to be decreased in COPD, despite hypoxia. Here we show that patients with COPD fail to induce HIF-1α and VEGF under hypoxic condition because of a reduction in histone deacetylase (HDAC) 7.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were obtained from patients with moderate to severe COPD (n = 21), smokers without COPD (n = 12), and nonsmokers (n = 15). PBMCs were exposed to hypoxia (1% oxygen, 5% CO2, and 94% N2) for 24 h, and HIF-1α and HDAC7 protein expression in nuclear extracts were determined by sodium dodecyl sulfate poly acrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE)/Western blotting.
HIF-1α was significantly induced by hypoxia in each group when compared with the normoxic condition (12-fold induction in nonsmokers, 24-fold induction in smokers without COPD, fourfold induction in COPD), but induction of HIF-1α under hypoxia was significantly lower in patients with COPD than in nonsmokers and smokers without COPD (P < .05 and P < .01, respectively). VEGF messenger RNA detected by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was correlated with HIF-1α protein in nuclei (r = 0.79, P < .05), and HDAC7 protein expression was correlated with HIF-1α protein in nuclei (r = 0.46, P < .05). HDAC7 knockdown inhibited hypoxia-induced HIF-1α activity in U937 cells, and HIF-1α nuclear translocation and HIF-1α binding to the VEGF promoter in A549 cells.
HDAC7 reduction in COPD causes a defect of HIF-1α induction response to hypoxia with impaired VEGF gene expression. This poor cellular adaptation might play a role in the pathogenesis of COPD.
PMCID: PMC3342783  PMID: 22172637
25.  HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha Are Differentially Activated in Distinct Cell Populations in Retinal Ischaemia 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(6):e11103.
Hypoxia plays a key role in ischaemic and neovascular disorders of the retina. Cellular responses to oxygen are mediated by hypoxia-inducible transcription factors (HIFs) that are stabilised in hypoxia and induce the expression of a diverse range of genes. The purpose of this study was to define the cellular specificities of HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha in retinal ischaemia, and to determine their correlation with the pattern of retinal hypoxia and the expression profiles of induced molecular mediators.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We investigated the tissue distribution of retinal hypoxia during oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) in mice using the bio-reductive drug pimonidazole. We measured the levels of HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha proteins by Western blotting and determined their cellular distribution by immunohistochemistry during the development of OIR. We measured the temporal expression profiles of two downstream mediators, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and erythropoietin (Epo) by ELISA. Pimonidazole labelling was evident specifically in the inner retina. Labelling peaked at 2 hours after the onset of hypoxia and gradually declined thereafter. Marked binding to Müller glia was evident during the early hypoxic stages of OIR. Both HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha protein levels were significantly increased during retinal hypoxia but were evident in distinct cellular distributions; HIF-1alpha stabilisation was evident in neuronal cells throughout the inner retinal layers whereas HIF-2alpha was restricted to Müller glia and astrocytes. Hypoxia and HIF-alpha stabilisation in the retina were closely followed by upregulated expression of the downstream mediators VEGF and EPO.
Both HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha are activated in close correlation with retinal hypoxia but have contrasting cell specificities, consistent with differential roles in retinal ischaemia. Our findings suggest that HIF-2alpha activation plays a key role in regulating the response of Müller glia to hypoxia.
PMCID: PMC2885428  PMID: 20559438

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