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.
Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) increases transcription of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) gene. Inhibition of VEGF abolishes VEGF mediated induction of HIF-1α. Recent reports suggested that HIF-1α also mediated the induction of class III β-tubulin (TUBB3) in hypoxia. TUBB3 confers resistance to taxanes. Inhibition of VEGF may decrease the expression of HIF-1α and TUBB3. This study was undertaken to investigate the roles of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) in gastric cancer cell behavior and to identify methods to overcome paclitaxel resistance in vitro.
Materials and Methods
The protein expression levels of HIF-1α and TUBB3 were measured in human gastric cancer cell lines (AGS) under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. The relationship between TUBB3 and paclitaxel resistance was assessed with small interfering TUBB3 RNA. AGS cells were treated with anti-VEGFR-1, anti-VEGFR-2, placental growth factor (PlGF), bevacizuamb, and paclitaxel.
Hypoxia induced paclitaxel resistance was decreased by knockdown of TUBB3. Induction of HIF-1α and TUBB3 in AGS is VEGFR-1 mediated and PlGF dependent. Hypoxia-dependent upregulation of HIF-1α and TUBB3 was reduced in response to paclitaxel treatment. Expressions of HIF-1α and TUBB3 were most decreased when AGS cells were treated with a combination of paclitaxel and anti-VEGFR-1. AGS cell cytotoxicity was most increased in response to paclitaxel, anti-VEGFR-1, and anti-VEGFR-2.
We suggest that blockade of VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 enhances paclitaxel sensitivity in TUBB3-expressing gastric cancer cells.
Vascular endothelial growth factor; Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha; class III beta-tubulin; paclitaxel
All-trans retinoid acid (ATRA) is one of the most potent and most thoroughly studied differentiation inducers that induce the differentiation and apoptosis of glioma cells. However, the effect of ATRA on angiogenesis of glioma remains poorly understood. We examined the effect of ATRA on the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in different glioma cell lines and investigated the underlying mechanism, intending to partially reveal the effects of ATRA on angiogenesis of glioma. Glioma cells were treated by ATRA at 5 and 10 µmol/L. The VEGF mRNA transcript levels were determined by real-time RT-PCR and the protein levels of VEGF in glioma cells were evaluated by Western blotting assays. Moreover, hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) mRNA expression was analyzed by using real-time RT-PCR. After treatment with 5 and 10 µmol/L ATRA, the VEGF mRNA transcript levels in glioma cells increased remarkably, compared with that in the control group, and the relative protein expression of VEGF was also up-regulated. Meanwhile, the HIF-1α mRNA expression also increased. ATRA increases the expression of VEGF in glioma cells at both transcriptional and translational levels.
All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA); vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF); glioma; hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α); angiogenesis
Hypoxia is a prominent feature of malignant tumors that are characterized by angiogenesis and vascular hyperpermeability. Vascular permeability factor/vascular endothelial growth factor (VPF/VEGF) has been shown to be up-regulated in the vicinity of necrotic tumor areas, and hypoxia potently induces VPF/VEGF expression in several tumor cell lines in vitro. Here we report that hypoxia-induced VPF/VEGF expression is mediated by increased transcription and mRNA stability in human M21 melanoma cells. RNA-binding/electrophoretic mobility shift assays identified a single 125-bp AU-rich element in the 3′ untranslated region that formed hypoxia-inducible RNA-protein complexes. Hypoxia-induced expression of chimeric luciferase reporter constructs containing this 125-bp AU-rich hypoxia stability region were significantly higher than constructs containing an adjacent 3′ untranslated region element without RNA-binding activity. Using UV-cross-linking studies, we have identified a series of hypoxia-induced proteins of 90/88 kDa, 72 kDa, 60 kDa, 56 kDa, and 46 kDa that bound to the hypoxia stability region element. The 90/88-kDa and 60-kDa species were specifically competed by excess hypoxia stability region RNA. Thus, increased VPF/VEGF mRNA stability induced by hypoxia is mediated, at least in part, by specific interactions between a defined mRNA stability sequence in the 3′ untranslated region and distinct mRNA-binding proteins in human tumor cells.
Emerging reports suggest resistance, increased tumor invasiveness and metastasis arising from treatment with drugs targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). It is believed that increased tumoral hypoxia plays a prominent role in the development of these phenomena. Inhibition of tumoral hypoxia inducible factor (HIF-1α) is thus becoming an increasingly attractive therapeutic target in the treatment of cancer. We hypothesized that the anti-VEGF effect of albendazole (ABZ) could be mediated through inhibition of tumoral HIF-1α.
In vitro, the effects of ABZ on HIF-1α levels in human ovarian cancer cells (OVCAR-3) were investigated using hypoxic chamber or desferrioxamine (DFO) induced-hypoxia. In vivo, the effects of ABZ (150 mg/kg, i.p., single dose) on the tumor levels of HIF-1α and VEGF protein and mRNA were investigated by western blotting, RT-PCR and real time-PCR.
In vitro, ABZ inhibited cellular HIF-1α protein accumulation resulting from placement of cells under hypoxic chamber or exposure to DFO. In vivo, tumors excised from vehicle treated mice showed high levels of both HIF-1α and VEGF. Whereas, tumoral HIF-1α and VEGF protein levels were highly suppressed in ABZ treated mice. Tumoral VEGFmRNA (but not HIF-1αmRNA) was also found to be highly suppressed by ABZ.
These results demonstrate for the first time the effects of an acute dose of ABZ in profoundly suppressing both HIF-1α and VEGF within the tumor. This dual inhibition may provide additional value in inhibiting angiogenesis and be at least partially effective in inhibiting tumoral HIF-1α surge, tumor invasiveness and metastasis.
► AAI increases whereas OTA decreases production of proangiogenic VEGF. ► The upregulation of VEGF expression by AAI is caused by induction of SP-1 and HIFs. ► Hypoxia prevents OTA-diminished VEGF production ► The effect of hypoxia on OTA-reduced VEGF is mediated by HIF-2α but not HIF-1α.
Aristolochic acid I (AAI) and ochratoxin A (OTA) cause chronic kidney diseases. Recently, the contribution of hypoxic injuries and angiogenic disturbances to nephropathies has been suggested, but underlying mechanisms have not been fully clarified yet.
In porcine kidney epithelial cell line, LLC-PK1 cells, treatment with non-toxic doses of AAI increased whereas with OTA decreased production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), the angiogenic factor with well-defined functions in kidney. Moreover, the activity of transcription factors regulating VEGF expression was differentially affected by examined compounds. Activity of hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs) and SP-1 was increased by AAI but diminished by OTA. Interestingly, AP-1 activity was inhibited while NFκB was not influenced by both toxins. Mithramycin A, a SP-1 inhibitor, as well as chetomin, an inhibitor of HIFs, reversed AAI-induced up-regulation of VEGF synthesis, indicating the importance of SP-1 and HIFs in this effect. Additionally, adenoviral overexpression of HIF-2α but not HIF-1α prevented OTA-diminished VEGF production suggesting the protective effect of this isoform towards the consequences exerted by OTA.
These observations provide new insight into complex impact of AAI and OTA on angiogenic gene regulation. Additionally, it adds to our understanding of hypoxia influence on nephropathies pathology.
AA, aristolochic acid; AAI, aristolochic acid I; AAII, aristolochic acid II; AA-ATN, aristolochic acid-induced acute tubular necrosis; AAN, aristolochic acid-induced nephropathy; AdGFP, adenoviral vectors containing GFP cDNA; AdHIF-1,-2α, adenoviral vectors containing HIF-1,-2α cDNA; β-gal, β-galactosidase; BEN, Balkan endemic nephropathy; CKDs, chronic kidney diseases; EMT, epithelial to mesenchymal cell transformation; GFP, green fluorescent protein; HIF, hypoxia inducible factor; HRE, hypoxia responsive element; HRP, horseradish peroxidase; LDH, lactate dehydrogenase; LLC-PK1, porcine kidney epithelial cell line; IARC, The International Agency for Research on Cancer; OTA, ochratoxin A; ROS, reactive oxygen species; RT, room temperature; TGFβ, transforming growth factor β; VEGF, vascular endothelial growth factor; Nephropathy; Kidney diseases; Vascular endothelial growth factor; Angiogenesis; Hypoxia; LLC-PK1
The transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) represents an important molecular target for anticancer drug discovery. In a T47D cell-based reporter assay, the Caulerpa spp. algal pigment caulerpin (1) inhibited hypoxia-induced as well as 1,10-phenanthroline-induced HIF-1 activation. The angiogenic factor vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is regulated by HIF-1. Caulerpin (10 μM) suppressed hypoxic induction of secreted VEGF protein and the ability of hypoxic T47D cell-conditioned media to promote tumor angiogenesis in vitro. Under hypoxic conditions, 1 (10 μM) blocked the induction of HIF-1α protein, the oxygen-regulated subunit that controls HIF-1 activity. Reactive oxygen species produced by mitochondrial complex III are believed to act as a signal of cellular hypoxia that leads to HIF-1α protein induction and activation. Further mechanistic studies revealed that 1 inhibits mitochondrial respiration at electron transport chain (ETC) complex I (NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase). Under hypoxic conditions, it is proposed that 1 may disrupt mitochondrial ROS-regulated HIF-1 activation and HIF-1 downstream target gene expression by inhibiting the transport or delivery of electrons to complex III.
The angiogenesis process is a key event for glioma survival, malignancy and growth. The start of angiogenesis is mediated by a cascade of intratumoural events: alteration of the microvasculature network; a hypoxic microenvironment; adaptation of neoplastic cells and synthesis of pro-angiogenic factors. Due to a chaotic blood flow, a consequence of an aberrant microvasculature, tissue hypoxia phenomena are induced. Hypoxia inducible factor 1 is a major regulator in glioma invasiveness and angiogenesis. Clones of neoplastic cells with stem cell characteristics are selected by HIF-1. These cells, called “glioma stem cells” induce the synthesis of vascular endothelial growth factor. This factor is a pivotal mediator of angiogenesis. To elucidate the role of these angiogenic mediators during glioma growth, we have used a rat endogenous glioma model. Gliomas induced by prenatal ENU administration allowed us to study angiogenic events from early to advanced tumour stages. Events such as microvascular aberrations, hypoxia, GSC selection and VEGF synthesis may be studied in depth. Our data showed that for the treatment of gliomas, developing anti-angiogenic therapies could be aimed at GSCs, HIF-1 or VEGF. The ENU-glioma model can be considered to be a useful option to check novel designs of these treatment strategies.
Glioblastomas are malignant brain tumors that are rarely curable, even with aggressive therapy (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation). Glioblastomas frequently display loss of PTEN and/or epidermal growth factor receptor activation, both of which activate the PI3K pathway. This pathway can increase vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α expression. We examined the effects of two human immunodeficiency virus protease inhibitors, nelfinavir and amprenavir, which inhibit Akt signaling, on VEGF and HIF-1α expression and on angiogenesis. Nelfinavir decreased VEGF mRNA expression and VEGF secretion under normoxia. Downregulation of P-Akt decreased VEGF secretion in a manner similar to that of nelfinavir, but the combination of the two had no greater effect, consistent with the idea that nelfinavir decreases VEGF through the PI3K/Akt pathway. Nelfinavir also decreased the hypoxic induction of VEGF and the hypoxic induction of HIF-1α, which regulates VEGF promoter. The effect of nelfinavir on HIF-1α was most likely mediated by decreased protein translation. Nelfinavir's effect on VEGF expression had the functional consequence of decreasing angiogenesis in in vivo Matrigel plug assays. Similar effects on VEGFand HIF-1α expression were seen with a different protease inhibitor, amprenavir. Our results support further research into these protease inhibitors for use in future clinical trials for patients with glioblastoma multiformes.
Nelfinavir; amprenavir; VEGF; HIF-1α; Akt
Hypoxia induces apoptosis but also triggers adaptive mechanisms to ensure cell survival. Here we show that the prosurvival effects of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) in endothelial cells are mediated by neuron-derived orphan receptor 1 (NOR-1). The overexpression of NOR-1 decreased the rate of endothelial cells undergoing apoptosis in cultures exposed to hypoxia, while the inhibition of NOR-1 increased cell apoptosis. Hypoxia upregulated NOR-1 mRNA levels in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Blocking antibodies against VEGF or SU5614 (a VEGF receptor 2 inhibitor) did not prevent hypoxia-induced NOR-1 expression, suggesting that NOR-1 is not induced by the autocrine secretion of VEGF in response to hypoxia. The reduction of HIF-1α protein levels by small interfering RNAs, or by inhibitors of the phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway or mTOR, significantly counteracted hypoxia-induced NOR-1 upregulation. Intracellular Ca2+ was involved in hypoxia-induced PI3K/Akt activation and in the downstream NOR-1 upregulation. A hypoxia response element mediated the transcriptional activation of NOR-1 induced by hypoxia as we show by transient transfection and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. Finally, the attenuation of NOR-1 expression reduced both basal and hypoxia-induced cIAP2 (cellular inhibitor of apoptosis protein 2) mRNA levels, while NOR-1 overexpression upregulated cIAP2. Therefore, NOR-1 is a downstream effector of HIF-1 signaling involved in the survival response of endothelial cells to hypoxia.
Background: VEGF is central to cancer angiogenesis; however, we have a poor understanding of how VEGF is regulated in lung tumors.
Results: High levels of SP-1 transcription factor expression amplify basal and hypoxia-induced VEGF expression.
Conclusion: SP-1 plays a key role in both genetic and hypoxic microenvironment regulation of VEGF in cancer.
Significance: Targeting of both VEGF and SP-1 may provide a more effective cancer therapy.
VEGF plays a central role in angiogenesis in cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumors have increased microvascular density, localized hypoxia, and high VEGF expression levels; however, there is a lack of understanding of how oncogenic and tumor microenvironment changes such as hypoxia lead to greater VEGF expression in lung and other cancers. We show that NSCLC cells secreted higher levels of VEGF than normal airway epithelial cells. Actinomycin D inhibited all NSCLC VEGF secretion, and VEGF minimal promoter-luciferase reporter constructs were constitutively active until the last 85 base pairs before the transcription start site containing three SP-1 transcription factor-binding sites; mutation of these VEGF promoter SP-1-binding sites eliminated VEGF promoter activity. Furthermore, dominant negative SP-1, mithramycin A, and SP-1 shRNA decreased VEGF promoter activity, whereas overexpression of SP-1 increased VEGF promoter activity. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated SP-1, p300, and PCA/F histone acetyltransferase binding and histone H4 hyperacetylation at the VEGF promoter in NSCLC cells. Cultured NSCLC cells expressed higher levels of SP-1 protein than normal airway epithelial cells, and double-fluorescence immunohistochemistry showed a strong correlation between SP-1 and VEGF in human NSCLC tumors. In addition, hypoxia-driven VEGF expression in NSCLC cells was SP-1-dependent, with hypoxia increasing SP-1 activity and binding to the VEGF promoter. These studies are the first to demonstrate that overexpression of SP-1 plays a central role in hypoxia-induced VEGF secretion.
Angiogenesis; Lung Cancer; Sp1; Transcription Factors; Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)
Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1) is a transcription factor that is a
critical mediator of the cellular response to hypoxia. Enhanced levels of
HIF-1α, the oxygen-regulated subunit of HIF-1, is often associated
with increased tumour angiogenesis, metastasis, therapeutic resistance and
poor prognosis. It is in this context that we previously demonstrated that
under hypoxia, bcl-2 protein promotes HIF-1/Vascular Endothelial Growth
Factor (VEGF)-mediated tumour angiogenesis.
By using human melanoma cell lines and their stable or transient derivative
bcl-2 overexpressing cells, the current study identified HIF-1α
protein stabilization as a key regulator for the induction of HIF-1 by bcl-2
under hypoxia. We also demonstrated that bcl-2-induced accumulation of
HIF-1α protein during hypoxia was not due to an increased gene
transcription or protein synthesis. In fact, it was related to a modulation
of HIF-1α protein expression at a post-translational level, indeed
its degradation rate was faster in the control lines than in bcl-2
transfectants. The bcl-2-induced HIF-1α stabilization in response to
low oxygen tension conditions was achieved through the impairment of
ubiquitin-dependent HIF-1α degradation involving the molecular
chaperone HSP90, but it was not dependent on the prolyl hydroxylation of
HIF-1α protein. We also showed that bcl-2, HIF-1α and HSP90
proteins form a tri-complex that may contribute to enhancing the stability
of the HIF-1α protein in bcl-2 overexpressing clones under hypoxic
conditions. Finally, by using genetic and pharmacological approaches we
proved that HSP90 is involved in bcl-2-dependent stabilization of
HIF-1α protein during hypoxia, and in particular the isoform
HSP90β is the main player in this phenomenon.
We identified the stabilization of HIF-1α protein as a mechanism
through which bcl-2 induces the activation of HIF-1 in hypoxic tumour cells
involving the β isoform of molecular chaperone HSP90.
Neuropilin-2 (NRP2) is a receptor expressed by tumor cells and endothelial cells (EC) that binds both semaphorin 3F (SEMA3F), a potent inhibitor of tumor angiogenesis and metastasis, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a potent stimulator of tumor angiogenesis. It was found that glioblastoma and melanoma cells repressed NRP2 expression when maintained under hypoxic conditions and after treatment with the hypoxia-mimetic agent desferrioxamine (DFO), at both the mRNA and protein levels. Silencing of HIF1-α, the hypoxia-induced subunit of the hypoxia inducible factor (HIF), abrogated DFO-induced NRP2 repression. Conversely, ectopic expression of HIF1-α directly repressed NRP2 promoter activity and expression. NRP2 is the sole receptor for SE MA3F. Loss of NRP2 expression in tumor cells inhibited SE MA3F-dependent activities, such as inactivation of RhoA, depolymerization of F-actin and inhibition of tumor cell migration. On the other hand, loss of NRP2 expression in tumor cells increased VEGF protein levels in conditioned media, with no effects on VEGF mRNA levels. This increase in VEGF protein levels promoted paracrine activation of EC, including VEGF receptor-2 phosphorylation and activation of downstream signaling proteins such as p44/42 MAPK and p38 MAPK. In addition, the elevated VEGF levels induced EC migration and sprouting, two key steps of tumor angiogenesis in vivo. It was concluded that hypoxia regulates VEGF and SE MA3F activities through transcriptional repression of their common receptor NRP2, providing a novel mechanism by which hypoxia induces tumor angiogenesis, growth and metastasis.
hypoxia; tumor; angiogenesis; neuropilin-2; VEGF; semaphorin 3F; endothelial cells; migration
Hypoxia stimulates tumor angiogenesis by inducing the expression of angiogenic molecules. The negative regulators of this process, however, are not well understood. Here we report that hypoxia induced the expression of insulin-like growth factor binding protein-6 (IGFBP-6), a tumor repressor, in human and rodent vascular endothelial cells (VECs) via a HIF-mediated mechanism. Addition of human IGFBP-6 to cultured human VECs inhibited angiogenesis in vitro. An IGFBP-6 mutant with at least 10,000-fold lower binding affinity for IGFs was an equally potent inhibitor of angiogenesis, suggesting that this action of IGFBP-6 is IGF-independent. The functional relationship between IGFBP-6 and VEGF, a major hypoxia-inducible angiogenic molecule, was examined. While VEGF alone increased angiogenesis in vitro, co-incubation with IGFBP-6 abolished VEGF-stimulated angiogenesis. The in vivo role of IGFBP-6 in angiogenesis was tested in flk1:GFP zebrafish embryos, which exhibit green fluorescence protein in developing vascular endothelium, permitting visualization of developing blood vessels. Injection of human IGFBP-6 mRNA reduced the number of embryonic inter-segmental blood vessels by ∼40%. This anti-angiogenic activity is conserved in zebrafish because expression of zebrafish IGFBP-6b had similar effects. To determine the anti-angiogenic effect of IGFBP-6 in a tumor model, human Rh30 rhabdomyosarcoma cells stably transfected with IGFBP-6 were inoculated into athymic BALB/c nude mice. Vessel density was 52% lower in IGFBP-6-transfected xenografts than in vector control xenografts. These results suggest that the expression of IGFBP-6 in VECs is up-regulated by hypoxia and IGFBP-6 inhibits angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo.
In addition to act as an antiapoptotic protein, B-cell lymphoma (bcl)-2 can also promote tumor angiogenesis. In this context, we have previously demonstrated that under hypoxia bcl-2 promotes hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1)-mediated vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression in melanoma and breast carcinoma. Here, we report on the role of the BH4 domain in bcl-2 functions, by showing that removal of or mutations at the BH4 domain abrogate the ability of bcl-2 to induce VEGF protein expression and transcriptional activity under hypoxia in human melanoma cells. We have also extended this observation to other human tumor histotypes, such as colon, ovarian and lung carcinomas. The involvement of BH4 on HIF-1α protein expression, stability, ubiquitination and HIF-1 transcriptional activity was also demonstrated in melanoma experimental model. Moreover, we validated the role of the BH4 domain of bcl-2 in the regulation of HIF-1/VEGF axis, demonstrating that BH4 peptide is sufficient to increase HIF-1α protein half-life impairing HIF-1α protein ubiquitination, and to enhance VEGF secretion in melanoma cells exposed to hypoxia. Finally, we found that the mechanism by which bcl-2 regulates HIF-1-mediated VEGF expression does not require BH1 and BH2 domains, and it is independent of antiapoptotic and prosurvival function of bcl-2.
bcl-2; BH domain; HIF-1; VEGF; cancer
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) plays an important role in the pathophysiology of central nervous system (CNS) disorders such as stroke and hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is involved in angiogenesis and vasogenic edema during stroke and hypoxia. However, the role of VEGF in BBB permeability after hypoxia has not been fully elucidated. We therefore investigated VEGF effects in an in vitro BBB model using rbcec4 endothelial cell line with the stimulation of VEGF or hypoxia. In this study, BBB permeability was studied using 14C-sucrose detection. The expression of BBB tight junction protein ZO-1, and the expression and phosphorylation of vasodilator stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP), VEGF and VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) were determined using fluorescent immunocytochemistry and western blot analyses. We found that hypoxia upregulated VEGF expression, and VEGF increased BBB permeability. Hypoxia also increased VASP phosphorylation, which is mediated, in part, through VEGFR2. We also found that VASP at tight junctions was co-localized with ZO-1 in cell-cell contacts. Our findings show that VASP phosphorylation is affected by hypoxia and VEGFR2 inhibition suggesting a role for VASP in BBB permeability.
Blood-brain barrier; VEGF; Hypoxia; VEGFR2; Permeability; Vasodilator stimulated phosphoprotein
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.
Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is a transcription factor that regulates various cellular processes such as cell survival, angiogenesis and proliferation. In the present study, we examined that betulinic acid (BA), a triterpene from the bark of white birch, had the inhibitory effects on hypoxia-mediated activation of STAT3 in androgen independent human prostate cancer PC-3 cells.
BA inhibited the protein expression and the transcriptional activities of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) under hypoxic condition. Consistently, BA blocked hypoxia-induced phosphorylation, DNA binding activity and nuclear accumulation of STAT3. In addition, BA significantly reduced cellular and secreted levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a critical angiogenic factor and a target gene of STAT3 induced under hypoxia. Furthermore, BA prevented in vitro capillary tube formation in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) maintained in conditioned medium of hypoxic PC-3 cells, implying anti-angiogenic activity of BA under hypoxic condition. Of note, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChiP) assay revealed that BA inhibited binding of HIF-1α and STAT3 to VEGF promoter. Furthermore, silencing STAT3 using siRNA transfection effectively enhanced the reduced VEGF production induced by BA treatment under hypoxia.
Taken together, our results suggest that BA has anti-angiogenic activity by disturbing the binding of HIF-1α and STAT3 to the VEGF promoter in hypoxic PC-3 cells.
Neoplastic cells growing under hypoxic conditions exhibit a more aggressive phenotype by activating a cascade of molecular events partly mediated by hypoxia-inducible transcription factor (HIF-1α) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The roles of these markers have been studied previously in several cancer lines. We ascertained the frequency of HIF-1α expression, VEGF expression, the degree of neovascularization, and cell proliferation in osteosarcoma samples. Samples from osteosarcoma patients were assessed for HIF-1α and VEGF protein expression using immunohistochemistry, neovascularization using antibodies for Factor VIII, and cell proliferation using the Ki-67 labeling index. Associations between these parameters and clinical features were examined. HIF-1α staining was positive in 35% of patients and metastases were present in 61% of these HIF-1α-positive patients. VEGF protein expression was detected in 69% of patients, 92% of whom were female. We observed an insignificant trend for a higher frequency of VEGF expression in the high-grade as compared to low-grade osteosarcoma. We observed no association between vascular density and proliferation index and any clinical parameters. We found an association between HIF-1α expression and metastatic disease and between VEGF expression and female gender.
Human adipose stem cells (hASCs) can promote angiogenesis through secretion of proangiogenic factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). In other cell types, it has been shown that induction of VEGF is mediated by both protease activated receptor 2 (PAR2) and hypoxia inducible factor 1(HIF-1). The present study hypothesized that PAR2 stimulation through activation of kinase signaling cascades lead to induction of HIF-1 and secretion of VEGF.
Immunohistochemistry revealed the expression of PAR2 receptors on the surface of hASCs. Blocking the PAR2 receptors with a specific antibody prior to trypsin treatment showed these receptors are involved in trypsin-evoked increase in VEGF secretion from hASCs. Blocking with specific kinase inhibitors suggested that that activation of MEK/ERK and PI3-kinase/Akt pathways are involved in trypsin-eveoked induction of VEGF. The effect of the trypsin treatment on the transcription of VEGF peaked at 6 hours after the treatment and was comparable to the activation observed after keeping hASCs for 24 hours at 1% oxygen. In contrast to hypoxia, trypsin alone failed to induce HIF-1 measured with ELISA, while the combination of trypsin and hypoxia had an additive effect on both VEGF transcription and secretion, results which were confirmed by Western blot.
In hASCs trypsin and hypoxia induce VEGF expression through separate pathways.
Products that contain twig extracts of pawpaw (Asimina triloba, Annonaceae) are widely consumed anticancer alternative medicines. Pawpaw crude extract (CE) and purified acetogenins inhibited hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1)-mediated hypoxic signaling pathways in tumor cells. In T47D cells, pawpaw CE and the acetogenins 10-hydroxyglaucanetin (1), annonacin (2), and annonacin A (3) inhibited hypoxia-induced HIF-1 activation with IC50 values of 0.02 μg/mL, 12 nM, 13 nM, and 31 nM, respectively. This inhibition correlates with the suppression of the hypoxic induction of HIF-1 target genes VEGF and GLUT-1. The induction of secreted VEGF protein represents a key event in hypoxia-induced tumor angiogenesis. Both the extract and the purified acetogenins blocked the angiogenesis-stimulating activity of hypoxic T47D cells in vitro. Pawpaw extract and acetogenins inhibited HIF-1 activation by blocking the hypoxic induction of nuclear HIF-1α protein. The inhibition of HIF-1 activation was associated with the suppression of mitochondrial respiration at complex I. Thus, the inhibition of HIF-1 activation and hypoxic tumor angiogenesis constitutes a novel mechanism of action for these anticancer alternative medicines.
3,3′-Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic phytochemical derived from the metabolism of indoles found at high concentrations in cruciferous vegetables. We have previously shown that DIM exhibits anti-angiogenic properties in cultured vascular endothelial cells and in Matrigel plug assays in rodents. In the present study, we demonstrate that DIM reduces the level of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α in hypoxic tumor cell lines, as well as HIF-1 transcriptional activity as measured by a reporter assay. Moreover, DIM inhibited the expression of HIF-1-responsive endogenous genes, resulting in the reduced expression of key hypoxia responsive factors, VEGF, furin, enolase-1, glucose transporter-1 and phosphofructokinase. DIM reduced the level of HIF-1α in hypoxic cells by increasing the rate of the prolylhydroxylase- and proteosome-mediated degradation of HIF-1α, and by decreasing the rate of HIF-1α transcription. Using enzyme kinetics studies, we established that DIM interacts with the oligomycin-binding site on the F1 transmembrane component of mitochondrial F1F0-ATPase. The contributions of the resulting increases in levels of ROS and O2 in hypoxic cells to the inhibitory effects of DIM on HIF-1α expression are discussed. These studies are the first to show that DIM can decrease the accumulation and activity of the key angiogenesis regulatory factor, HIF-1α, in hypoxic tumor cells.
3,3′-Diindolylmethane; angiogenesis; hypoxia-inducible factor; cancer; ATPase; prolylhydroxylase
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.
Aims: To measure vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-A) mRNA in a large, diverse cohort of tumours and to investigate whether VEGF-A expression is associated with markers of hypoxia, including hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) and carbonic anhydrase IX (CA9).
Methods: The expression of VEGF-A and CA9 was assessed in 5067 fresh frozen human tissue samples and 238 cell lines by DNA microarray analysis. In addition, tissue microarrays were constructed from 388 malignancies to investigate the expression of VEGF-A and HIF-1α by in situ hybridisation and immunohistochemistry, respectively.
Results: VEGF-A was significantly upregulated in primary malignancies of the breast, cervix, colon and rectum, oesophagus, head and neck, kidney, ovary, skin, urinary system, and white blood cells by DNA microarray analysis. However, VEGF-A expression only correlated with CA9 expression in renal tissues. In the tissue microarrays, HIF-1α positive cores showed a significant increase in VEGF-A expression in lung, ovary, soft tissue, and thyroid malignancies.
Conclusions: The expression of VEGF-A is upregulated in a large proportion of human malignancies, and may be associated with markers of hypoxia. VEGF-A expression can be induced in the absence of hypoxia and hypoxia does not always provoke VEGF-A upregulation in tumours.
vascular endothelial growth factor; hypoxia inducible factor one alpha; carbonic anhydrase IX; angiogenesis; neoplasia
Glioblastomas continue to carry poor prognoses for patients despite advances in surgical, chemotherapeutic and radiation regimens. One feature of glioblastoma associated with poor prognosis is the degree of hypoxia and expression levels of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α). HIF-1α expression allows metabolic adaptation to low oxygen availability, partly through upregulation of VEGF and increased tumor angiogenesis. Here, we demonstrate an induced level of astrocyte-elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) by hypoxia in glioblastoma cells. AEG-1 has the capacity to promote anchorage-independent growth and cooperates with Ha-ras in malignant transformation. In addition, AEG-1 was recently demonstrated to serve as an oncogene and can induce angiogenesis in glioblastoma. Results from in vitro studies show that hypoxic induction of AEG-1 is dependent on HIF-1α stabilization during hypoxia and that PI3K inhibition abrogates AEG-1 induction during hypoxia through loss of HIF-1α stability. Furthermore, we show that AEG-1 is induced by glucose deprivation and that prevention of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) production prevents this induction. Additionally, AEG-1 knockdown results in increased ROS production and increased glucose deprivation-induced cytotoxicity. On the other hand, AEG-1 overexpression prevents ROS production and decreases glucose deprivation-induced cytotoxicity, indicating that AEG-1 induction is necessary for cells to survive this type of cell stress. These observations link AEG-1 overexpression in glioblastoma with hypoxia and glucose deprivation and targeting these physiological pathways may lead to therapeutic advances in the treatment of glioblastoma in the future.
AEG-1; glioblastoma; hypoxia; glucose deprivation; necrosis