Mechanical forces are important regulators of cell and tissue phenotype. We hypothesized that mechanical loading and boundary conditions would influence neovessel activity during angiogenesis.
Using an in vitro model of angiogenesis sprouting and a mechanical loading system, we evaluated the effects of boundary conditions and applied loading. The model consisted of rat microvessel fragments cultured in a 3D collagen gel, previously shown to recapitulate angiogenic sprouting observed in vivo. We examined changes in neovascular growth in response to four different mechanical conditions. Neovessel density, diameter, length and orientation were measured from volumetric confocal images of cultures exposed to no external load (free-floating shape control), intrinsic loads (fixed ends, no stretch), static external load (static stretch) or cyclic external load (cyclic stretch).
Neovessels sprouted and grew by the 3rd day of culture and continued to do so during the next 3 days of loading. The numbers of neovessels and branch points were significantly increased in the static stretch group when compared to the free-floating shape control, no stretch or cyclic stretch groups. In all mechanically loaded cultures, neovessel diameter and length distributions were heterogeneous, while they were homogeneous in shape control cultures. Neovessels were significantly more oriented along the direction of mechanical loading than those in the shape controls. Interestingly, collagen fibrils were organized parallel and adjacent to growing neovessels.
Externally applied boundary conditions regulate neovessel sprouting and elongation during angiogenesis, affecting both neovessel growth characteristics and network morphometry. Furthermore, neovessels align parallel to the direction of stress/strain or internally generated traction, and this may be due to collagen fibril alignment induced by the growing neovessels themselves.
boundary conditions; angiogenesis; strain; orientation; morphometry; image analysis
During the typical healing response to an implanted biomaterial, vascular-rich granulation tissue forms around the implant and later resolves into a relatively avascular, fibrous capsule. We have previously shown that a microvascular construct (MVC) consisting of isolated microvessel fragments suspended in a collagen I gel forms a persistent microcirculation in lieu of avascular scar when implanted. The current study evaluated the potential for microvascular constructs to maintain a vascularized tissue environment around an implanted biomaterial. An analysis of the peri-implant tissue around bare expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE), ePTFE embedded within a microvascular construct, or ePTFE embedded within collagen alone revealed that the presence of the MVC, but not collagen alone, promoted vascular densities comparable to that of the granulation tissue formed around bare ePTFE. The vessels within the microvascular construct surrounding the ePTFE were perfusion competent, as determined by India ink perfusion casting, and extended into the interstices of the polymer. In contrast to bare ePTFE, the presence of the MVC or collagen alone significantly reduced the number of activated macrophages in association with ePTFE. Similar results were observed for ePTFE modified to increase cellularity and prevent the formation of an avascular scar. The microvascular construct may prove effective in forming vascularized tissue environments and limiting the number of activated macrophages around implanted polymers thereby leading to effective implant incorporation.
granulation tissue; fibrous capsule; structural adaptation; microvascular networks
Proper arterial and venous specification is a hallmark of functional vascular networks. While arterial-venous identity is genetically pre-determined during embryo development, it is unknown whether an analogous pre-specification occurs in adult neovascularization. Our goal is to determine whether vessel arterial-venous specification in adult neovascularization is pre-determined by the identity of the originating vessels.
Methods and Results
We assessed identity specification during neovascularization by implanting isolated microvessels of arterial identity from both mice and rats and assessing the identity outcomes of the resulting, newly formed vasculature. These microvessels of arterial identity spontaneously formed a stereotypical, perfused microcirculation comprised of the full complement of microvessel types intrinsic to a mature microvasculature. Changes in microvessel identity occurred during sprouting angiogenesis, with neovessels displaying an ambiguous arterial-venous phenotype associated with reduced EphrinB2 phosphorylation.
Our findings indicate that microvessel arterial-venous identity in adult neovascularization is not necessarily pre-determined and that adult microvessels display a considerable level of phenotypic plasticity during neovascularization. In addition, we show that vessels of arterial identity also hold the potential to undergo sprouting angiogenesis.
During neovascularization, the end result is a new functional microcirculation comprised of a network of mature microvessels with specific topologies. While much is known concerning the mechanisms underlying the initiation of angiogenesis, it remains unclear how the final architecture of microcirculatory beds is regulated. To begin to address this, we determined the impact of angiogenic neovessel pre-patterning on the final microvascular network topology using an implant model of implant neovascularization.
Methods and Results
To test this, we used 3-D direct-write bioprinting or physical constraints in a manner permitting post-angiogenesis vascular remodeling and adaptation to pattern angiogenic microvascular precursors (neovessels formed from isolated microvessel segments) in 3-dimensional collagen gels prior to implantation and subsequent network formation. Neovasculatures pre-patterned into parallel arrays formed functional networks following 4 weeks post-implantation, but lost the pre-patterned architecture. However, maintenance of uniaxial physical constraints during post-angiogenesis remodeling of the implanted neovasculatures produced networks with aligned microvessels as well as an altered proportional distribution of arterioles, capillaries and venules.
Here we show that network topology resulting from implanted microvessel precursors is independent from pre-patterning of precursors but can be influenced by a patterning stimulus involving tissue deformation during post-angiogenesis remodeling and maturation.
microcirculation; regeneration; bioprinting; vascular engineering; neovascularization
Vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF) typically induces abnormal angiogenesis in the adult, thereby aggravating disease pathology and limiting utility of VEGF for therapeutic angiogenesis. To identify strategies for rectifying defects in pathological VEGF neovessels, we investigated consequences of modulating the Rho GTPase Cdc42. In a mouse skin model of VEGF-driven pathological angiogenesis, transduction with active Cdc42 (L28Cdc42) markedly improved VEGF neovessels, as measured by increased lumen formation, enlarged vessel diameter, and enhanced perfusion of macromolecular tracers. Conversely, transduction with dominant-negative Cdc42 (N17Cdc42) impaired endothelial cell (EC) assembly into lumenized blood vessels and reduced neovessel diameter and tracer perfusion. In vitro, active Cdc42 improved coordination between actin filaments and microtubules and enhanced formation of vascular cords, suggesting that active Cdc42 rectifies defects in angiogenesis by improving cytoskeletal dynamics and capillary morphogenesis. Analyses of Cdc42 signaling in microvascular ECs indicated that active Cdc42 also inhibits glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), a multi-functional serine/threonine protein kinase. Pharmacological inhibition of GSK-3β improved vascular cord formation in vitro and promoted proper neovessel formation in vivo comparably to active Cdc42, thus linking GSK-3β inhibition to the mechanism by which active Cdc42 rectifies pathological neovascularization. These studies identify activation of Cdc42 and inhibition of GSK-3β as novel strategies for correcting abnormalities associated with VEGF-driven angiogenesis, and they suggest new approaches for achieving improved therapeutic neovascularization with VEGF.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF); pathological angiogenesis; lumens; endothelial cells; cytoskeleton; Cdc42; glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β); capillary morphogenesis
Successful neovascularization requires that sprouting endothelial cells (ECs) integrate to form new vascular networks. However, architecturally defective, poorly integrated vessels with blind ends are typical of pathological angiogenesis induced by vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF), thereby limiting the utility of VEGF for therapeutic angiogenesis and aggravating ischemia-related pathologies. Here we investigated the possibility that over-exuberant calpain activity is responsible for aberrant VEGF neovessel architecture and integration. Calpains are a family of intracellular calcium-dependent, non-lysosomal cysteine proteases that regulate cellular functions through proteolysis of numerous substrates.
In a mouse skin model of VEGF-driven angiogenesis, retroviral transduction with dominant-negative (DN) calpain-I promoted neovessel integration and lumen formation, reduced blind ends, and improved vascular perfusion. Moderate doses of calpain inhibitor-I improved VEGF-driven angiogenesis similarly to DN calpain-I. Conversely, retroviral transduction with wild-type (WT) calpain-I abolished neovessel integration and lumen formation. In vitro, moderate suppression of calpain activity with DN calpain-I or calpain inhibitor-I increased the microtubule-stabilizing protein tau in endothelial cells (ECs), increased the average length of microtubules, increased actin cable length, and increased the interconnectivity of vascular cords. Conversely, WT calpain-I diminished tau, collapsed microtubules, disrupted actin cables, and inhibited integration of cord networks. Consistent with the critical importance of microtubules for vascular network integration, the microtubule-stabilizing agent taxol supported vascular cord integration whereas microtubule dissolution with nocodazole collapsed cord networks.
These findings implicate VEGF-induction of calpain activity and impairment of cytoskeletal dynamics in the failure of VEGF-induced neovessels to form and integrate properly. Accordingly, calpain represents an important target for rectifying key vascular defects associated with pathological angiogenesis and for improving therapeutic angiogenesis with VEGF.
Bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) contribute to angiogenesis-mediated pathological neovascularization and recent studies have begun to recognize the biological significance of this contribution. This review will discuss the ability of EPCs to contribute to neovascularization in both physiological and pathological conditions. Circulating EPCs were originally identified in 1997 by Asahara as CD34+ VEGFR2+ mononuclear cells. These cells differentiated into an endothelial phenotype, expressed endothelial markers, and incorporated into neovessels at sites of ischemia (Asahara et al., 1997). EPCs provide both instructive (release of pro-angiogenic cytokines) and structural (vessel incorporation and stabilization) functions that contribute to the initiation of neo-angiogenesis. EPC populations can be characterized based on surface markers of freshly isolated cells or they can be described by their in vitro characteristics once placed in culture. However, a major stumbling block to progress in the field has been the lack of consensus among investigators as to the optimal characterization of EPCs. This review intends to address the role of both EPC classes and evaluate how they interact in the setting of pathological angiogenesis. Since the EPCs may be responsible for turning on the “angiogenic switch,” strategies have been employed to keep this switch in the “off” position for diseases like cancer, retinopathy and wet AMD. The expectation is that EPCs will evolve into clinically useful prognostic and predictive tools in cancer and in ocular diseases associated with pathological neovascularization and that targeting this cell type is a key to successful management of patients suffering from diseases associated with pathological neovascularization.
We have previously demonstrated that implanted microvessels form a new microcirculation with minimal host-derived vessel investment. Our objective was to define the vascular phenotypes present during neovascularization in these implants and identify post-angiogenesis events. Morphological, functional and transcriptional assessments identified three distinct vascular phenotypes in the implants: sprouting angiogenesis, neovascular remodeling, and network maturation. A sprouting angiogenic phenotype appeared first, characterized by high proliferation and low mural cell coverage. This was followed by a neovascular remodeling phenotype characterized by a perfused, poorly organized neovascular network, reduced proliferation, and re-associated mural cells. The last phenotype included a vascular network organized into a stereotypical tree structure containing vessels with normal perivascular cell associations. In addition, proliferation was low and was restricted to the walls of larger microvessels. The transition from angiogenesis to neovascular remodeling coincided with the appearance of blood flow in the implant neovasculature. Analysis of vascular-specific and global gene expression indicates that the intermediate, neovascular remodeling phenotype is transcriptionally distinct from the other two phenotypes. Therefore, this vascular phenotype likely is not simply a transitional phenotype but a distinct vascular phenotype involving unique cellular and vascular processes. Furthermore, this neovascular remodeling phase may be a normal aspect of the general neovascularization process. Given that this phenotype is arguably dysfunctional, many of the microvasculatures present within compromised or diseased tissues may not represent a failure to progress appropriately through a normally occurring neovascularization phenotype.
neovascularization; neovessel; sprouting; angiogenesis; microvascular remodeling; microcirculation; structural adaptation; gene expression
The field of tissue engineering is severely limited by a lack of microvascularization in tissue engineered constructs. Biomimetic poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels containing covalently immobilized platelet-derived growth factor BB (PDGF-BB) were developed to promote angiogenesis. Poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels resist protein absorption and subsequent non-specific cell adhesion, thus providing a “blank slate”, which can be modified through the incorporation of cell adhesive ligands and growth factors. PDGF-BB is a key angiogenic protein able to support neovessel stabilization by inducing functional anastomoses and recruiting pericytes. Due to the widespread effects of PDGF in the body and a half-life of only 30 min in circulating blood, immobilization of PDGF-BB may be necessary. In this work bioactive, covalently immobilized PDGF-BB was shown to induce tubulogenesis on two-dimensional modified surfaces, migration in three-dimensional (3D) degradable hydrogels and angiogenesis in a mouse cornea micro-pocket angiogenesis assay. Covalently immobilized PDGF-BB was also used in combination with covalently immobilized fibroblast growth factor-2, which led to significantly increased endothelial cell migration in 3D degradable hydrogels compared with the presentation of each factor alone. When a co-culture of endothelial cells and mouse pericyte precursor 10T1/2 cells was seeded onto modified surfaces tubule formation was independent of surface modifications with covalently immobilized growth factors. Furthermore, the combination of soluble PDGF-BB and immobilized PDGF-BB induced a more robust vascular response compared with soluble PDGF-BB alone when implanted into an in vivo mouse cornea micropocket angiogenesis assay. Based on these results, we believe bioactive hydrogels can be tailored to improve the formation of functional microvasculature for tissue engineering.
Angiogenesis; Hydrogel; Poly(ethylene glycol); Platelet-derived growth factor; Biofunctional materials
Blood vessel formation is controlled by the balance between pro- and anti-angiogenic pathways. Although much is known about the factors that drive sprouting of neovessels, the factors that stabilize and pattern neovessels are undefined. The expression of angiomodulin (AGM), a VEGF-A binding protein, was increased in the vasculature of several human tumors as compared to normal tissue, raising the hypothesis that AGM may modulate VEGF-A-dependent vascular patterning. To elucidate the expression pattern of AGM, we developed an AGM knockin reporter mouse (AGMlacZ/+) wherein we demonstrate that AGM is predominantly expressed in the vasculature of developing embryos and adult organs. During physiological and pathological angiogenesis, AGM is upregulated in the angiogenic vasculature. Using the zebrafish model, we found that AGM is restricted to developing vasculature by 17-22 hpf. Blockade of AGM activity with morpholino oligomers (MO) results in prominent angiogenesis defects in vascular sprouting and remodeling. Concurrent knockdown of both AGM and VEGF-A results in synergistic angiogenesis defects. When VEGF-A is overexpressed, the compensatory induction of the VEGF-A receptor, VEGFR-2/flk-1, is blocked by the simultaneous injection of AGM MO. These results demonstrate that the vascular-specific marker AGM modulates vascular remodeling in part by temporizing the pro-angiogenic effects of VEGF-A.
Angiomodulin; IGFBP-7; angiogenesis; VEGF; zebrafish
We have demonstrated that microvessel fragments (MFs) isolated from adipose retain angiogenic potential in vitro and form a mature, perfused network when implanted. However, adipose-derived microvessels are rich in pro-vascularizing cells that could uniquely drive neovascularization in adipose-derived MFs implants.
Investigate the ability of microvessel fragments from a different vascular bed to recapitulate adipose-derived microvessel angiogenesis and network formation and analyze adipose-derived vessel plasticity by assessing whether vessel function could be modulated by astrocyte-like cells.
MFs were isolated by limited collagenase digestion from rodent brain or adipose and assembled into 3D collagen gels in the presence or absence of GRPs. The resulting neovasculatures that formed following implantation were assessed by measuring 3-D vascularity and vessel permeability to small and large molecular tracers.
Similar to adipose-derived MFs, brain-derived MFs can sprout and form a perfused neovascular network when implanted. Furthermore, when co-implanted in the constructs, GRPs caused adipose-derived vessels to express the brain endothelial marker glucose transporter-1 and to significantly reduce microvessel permeability.
Neovascularization involving isolated microvessel elements is independent of the tissue origin and degree of vessel specialization. In addition, adipose-derived vessels have the ability to respond to environmental signals and change vessel characteristics.
Angiogenesis; vessel permeability; glial restricted precursors; astrocytes; angiogenesis assay
Formation of haemorrhagic neovessels in the intima of developing atherosclerotic plaques is thought to significantly contribute to plaque instability resulting in thrombosis. C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute phase reactant whose expression in the vascular wall, in particular, in reactive plaque regions, and circulating levels increase in patients at high risk of cardiovascular events. Although CRP is known to induce a pro-inflammatory phenotype in endothelial cells (EC) a direct role on modulation of angiogenesis has not been established.
Here, we show that CRP is a powerful inducer of angiogenesis in bovine aortic EC (BAEC) and human coronary artery EC (HCAEC). CRP, at concentrations corresponding to moderate/high risk (1–5 μg/ml), induced a significant increase in proliferation, migration and tube-like structure formation in vitro and stimulated blood vessel formation in the chick chorioallantoic membrane assay (CAM). CRP treated with detoxi-gel columns retained such effects. Western blotting showed that CRP increased activation of early response kinase-1/2 (ERK1/2), a key protein involved in EC mitogenesis. Furthermore, using TaqMan Low-density Arrays we identified key pro-angiogenic genes induced by CRP among them were vascular endothelial cell growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR2/KDR), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF-BB), notch family transcription factors (Notch1 and Notch3), cysteine-rich angiogenic inducer 61 (CYR61/CCN1) and inhibitor of DNA binding/differentiation-1 (ID1).
This data suggests a role for CRP in direct stimulation of angiogenesis and therefore may be a mediator of neovessel formation in the intima of vulnerable plaques.
Therapeutic regulation of tissue vascularization has appeared as an attractive approach to treat a number of human diseases. In vivo neovascularization assays that reflect physiological and pathological formation of neovessels are important in this effort. In this report we present an assay where the effects of activators and inhibitors of angiogenesis can be quantitatively and qualitatively measured. A provisional matrix composed of collagen I and fibrin was formed in a plastic cylinder and implanted onto the chick chorioallantoic membrane. A nylon mesh separated the implanted matrix from the underlying tissue to distinguish new from pre-existing vessels. Vascularization of the matrix in response to fibroblast growth factor-2 or platelet-derived growth factor-BB was scored in a double-blinded manner, or vessel density was measured using a semi-automated image analysis procedure. Thalidomide, fumagillin, U0126 and TGFβ inhibited neovessel growth while hydrocortisone exerted a negative and wortmannin a toxic effect on the pre-existing vasculature. This quantitative, inexpensive and rapid in vivo angiogenesis assay might be a valuable tool in screening and characterizing factors that influence wound or tumor induced vascularization and in assessing their effects on the normal vasculature.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10456-012-9287-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Angiogenesis; Animal model; In vivo; Chick chorioallantoic membrane; Drug screening; Wound healing; Tumor
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) induces damage to the endothelium, which can lead to increased vascular permeability and, under intensive PDT conditions, even to platelet aggregation, vasoconstriction, and blood flow stasis. Eventually, ischemia, hypoxia, and inflammation can occur, resulting in angiogenesis. We studied the sequence of the vascular events after Visudyne®-PDT in the chicken chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) at day 11 of development. Using epi-fluorescence microscopy, we monitored the regrowth of capillaries in the PDT treated area. Immediately after irradiation, the treatment resulted in blood flow arrest. And 24 h post PDT, sprouting of new blood vessels was observed at the edge of the PDT zone. Neovessels looping out from the edge of the PDT zone gave rise to specialized endothelial tip structures guiding the vessels towards the center of the treated area. At 48 h almost all of the treated area was repopulated with functional but morphologically altered vasculature. These observations also showed reperfusion of some of the vessels that had been closed by the PDT treatment. CAM samples were immunohistochemically stained for Ki-67 showing proliferation of endothelial cells in the PDT area. Also, several markers of immature and angiogenic blood vessels, such as αVβ3-integrin, vimentin and galectin-1, were found to be enhanced in the PDT area, while the endothelial maturation marker intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 was found to be suppressed. These results demonstrate that the new vascular bed is formed by both neo-angiogenesis and reperfusion of existing vessels. Both the quantitative real-time RT–PCR profile and the response to pharmacological treatment with Avastin®, an inhibitor of angiogenesis, suggest that angiogenesis occurs after PDT. The observed molecular profiling results and the kinetics of gene regulation may enable optimizing combination therapies involving PDT for treatment of cancer and other diseases.
Photodynamic therapy; Capillary; VEGF; Angiogenesis; Real-time RT–PCR; Visudyne®; Avastin®; Galectin-1; Vimentin
Nearly all engineered tissues must eventually be vascularized to survive. To this end, we and others have recently developed methods to synthesize extracellular matrix-based scaffolds that contain open microfluidic networks. These scaffolds serve as templates for the formation of endothelial tubes that can be perfused; whether such microvascular structures are stable and/or functional is largely unknown. Here, we show that compounds that elevate intracellular concentrations of the second messenger cyclic AMP (cAMP) strongly normalize the phenotype of engineered human microvessels in microfluidic type I collagen gels. Cyclic AMP-elevating agents promoted vascular stability and barrier function, and reduced cellular turnover. Under conditions that induced the highest levels of cAMP, the physiology of engineered microvessels in vitro quantitatively mirrored that of native vessels in vivo. Computational analysis indicated that cAMP stabilized vessels partly via its enhancement of barrier function.
microvascular tissue engineering; collagen gels; permeability; microfluidic channels; cyclic AMP
Inhibiting the bioactivities of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) results in significant inhibition of neovessel formation during tumor angiogenesis. To investigate the potential effect of phloroglucinol as an EPC inhibitor, we performed several in vitro functional assays using CD34+ cells isolated from human umbilical cord blood (HUCB). Although a high treatment dose of phloroglucinol did not show any cell toxicity, it specifically induced the cell death of EPCs under serum free conditions through apoptosis. In the EPC colony-forming assay (EPC-CFA), we observed a significant decreased in the small EPC-CFUs for the phloroglucinol group, implying that phloroglucinol inhibited the early stage of EPC commitment. In addition, in the in vitro expansion assay using CD34+ cells, treatment with phloroglucinol was shown to inhibit endothelial lineage commitment, as demonstrated by the decrease in endothelial surface markers of EPCs including CD34+, CD34+/CD133+, CD34+/CD31+ and CD34+/CXCR4+. This is the first report to demonstrate that phloroglucinol can inhibit the functional bioactivities of EPCs, indicating that phloroglucinol may be used as an EPC inhibitor in the development of biosafe anti-tumor drugs that target tumor angiogenesis.
Endothelial progenitor cell; Tumor angiogenesis; Phloroglucinol; Colony forming assay
The extracellular matrix (ECM) plays a critical role in angiogenesis by providing biochemical and positional cues as well as by mechanically influencing microvessel cell behavior. Considerable information is known concerning the biochemical cues relevant to angiogenesis, but less is known about the mechanical dynamics during active angiogenesis. The objective of this study was to characterize changes in the material properties of a simple angiogenic tissue before and during angiogenesis. During sprouting, there was an overall decrease in tissue stiffness followed by an increase during neovessel elongation. The fall in matrix stiffness coincided with peak MMP mRNA expression and elevated proteolytic activity. An elevated expression of genes for ECM componenets and cell-ECM interaction molecules and a subsequent drop in proteolytic activity (although enzyme levels remained elevated) coincided with the subsequent stiffening.. The results of this study show that the mechanical properties of a scaffold tissue may be actively modified during angiogenesis by the growing microvasculature.
angiogenesis; biomechanics; matrix metalloprotease
Angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis are the processes of neovascularization that evolve from preexisting blood and lymphatic vessels. There are few studies on angiogenesis and none on lymphangiogenesis in leprosy. Thus, the role of neovascularization in the pathophysiological mechanisms of the disease was studied across the spectrum of leprosy, its reactional states and its residual lesions.
Seventy-six biopsies of leprosy skin lesions and seven healthy controls were selected. Fifty-five serum samples were used for the detection of CD105 by ELISA. Histological sections were stained with antibodies against CD31 (blood and lymphatic vessels), D2-40/podoplanin (lymphatic vessels), and CD105/endoglin (neovessels). Microvessels were counted in 100 high-power fields (400x) and the number of vessels was evaluated in relation to the extension of the inflammatory infiltrate (0-3), to the bacillary index (0-6) and to the clinical forms. Angiogenesis, as marked by CD31 and CD105, was observed across the leprosy spectrum, compared with the controls. Additionally, there was a positive correlation between these markers with extension of the infiltrate (p <0.0001). For D2/40, lymphangiogenesis was observed in the tuberculoid form (p <0.0001). There was no statistical significance for values of CD105 detected in plasma by ELISA.
Angiogenesis is present across the spectrum of leprosy and in its reactional forms. The increase in the number of vessels, as detected by CD31 and CD105 staining, is related to the extension of the inflammatory infiltrate. Samples from reactional lesions have a higher number of CD31+ and CD105+ stained vessels, which indicates their involvement in the pathophysiological mechanisms of the reactional states. The regression of lesions is accompanied by the regression of neovascularization. Drugs inhibiting angiogenesis may be relevant in the treatment of leprosy, in addition to multidrugtherapy, and in the prevention of the development of reactions.
Plaque angiogenesis may have an important role in the development of atherosclerosis. Vasa vasorum angiogenesis and medial infiltration provides nutrients to the developing and expanding intima and therefore, may prevent cellular death and contribute to plaque growth and stabilization in early lesions. However in more advanced plaques, inflammatory cell infiltration, and concomitant production of numerous pro-angiogenic cytokines may be responsible for induction of uncontrolled neointimal microvessel proliferation resulting in production of immature and fragile neovessels similar to that seen in tumour development. These could contribute to development of an unstable haemorrhagic rupture-prone environment. Increasing evidence has suggested that the expression of intimal neovessels is directly related to the stage of plaque development, the risk of plaque rupture, and subsequently, the presence of symptomatic disease, the timing of ischemic neurological events and myocardial/cerebral infarction. Despite this, there is conflicting evidence regarding the causal relationship between neovessel expression and plaque thrombosis with some in vivo experimental models suggesting the contrary and as yet, few direct mediators of angiogenesis have been identified and associated with plaque instability in vivo.
In recent years, an increasing number of angiogenic therapeutic targets have been proposed in order to facilitate modulation of neovascularization and its consequences in diseases such as cancer and macular degeneration. A complete knowledge of the mechanisms responsible for initiation of adventitial vessel proliferation, their extension into the intimal regions and possible de-novo synthesis of neovessels following differentiation of bone-marrow-derived stem cells is required in order to contemplate potential single or combinational anti-angiogenic therapies. In this review, we will examine the importance of angiogenesis in complicated plaque development, describe the current knowledge of molecular mechanisms of its initiation and maintenance, and discuss possible future anti-angiogenic therapies to control plaque stability.
To investigate the potential role of tenascin-C (TN-C) on endothelial sprouting we used bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs) as an in vitro model of angiogenesis. We found that TN-C is specifically expressed by sprouting and cord-forming BAECs but not by nonsprouting BAECs. To test whether TN-C alone or in combination with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) can enhance endothelial sprouting or cord formation, we used BAECs that normally do not sprout and, fittingly, do not express TN-C. In the presence of bFGF, exogenous TN-C but not fibronectin induced an elongated phenotype in nonsprouting BAECs. This phenotype was due to altered actin cytoskeleton organization. The fibrinogen globe of the TN-C molecule was the active domain promoting the elongated phenotype in response to bFGF. Furthermore, we found that the fibrinogen globe was responsible for reduced cell adhesion of BAECs on TN-C substrates. We conclude that bFGF-stimulated endothelial cells can be switched to a sprouting phenotype by the decreased adhesive strength of TN-C, mediated by the fibrinogen globe.
Observations in our laboratory provide evidence of vascular islands, defined as disconnected endothelial cell segments, in the adult microcirculation. The objective of this study was to determine if vascular islands are involved in angiogenesis during microvascular network growth.
Mesenteric tissues, which allow visualization of entire microvascular networks at a single cell level, were harvested from unstimulated adult male Wistar rats and Wistar rats 3 and 10 days post angiogenesis stimulation by mast cell degranulation with compound 48/80. Tissues were immunolabeled for PECAM and BRDU. Identification of vessel lumens via injection of FITC-dextran confirmed that endothelial cell segments were disconnected from nearby patent networks. Stimulated networks displayed increases in vascular area, length density, and capillary sprouting. On day 3, the percentage of islands with at least one BRDU-positive cell increased compared to the unstimulated level and was equal to the percentage of capillary sprouts with at least one BRDU-positive cell. At day 10, the number of vascular islands per vascular area dramatically decreased compared to unstimulated and day 3 levels.
These results show that vascular islands have the ability to proliferate and suggest that they are able to incorporate into the microcirculation during the initial stages of microvascular network growth.
Angiogenesis; Microcirculation; Mesentery; Proliferation; Endothelial cell
The objectives of this study were to investigate how diabetes mellitus (DM) influences responsiveness of retinal neovessels to lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) and to elucidate the underlying mechanism. To this end, we used an ex vivo assay in which neovessels sprouted from retinal explants (isolated from either control or DM mice) when cultured between two layers of collagen and in the presence of vascular endothelial growth factor-A. While DM had no effect on the formation of neovessels, it prevented LPA-induced regression. High-glucose (HG) treatment of retinal explants mimicked the DM phenotype. Similarly, primary retinal endothelial cells (RECs), which were subjected to HG treatment, organized into tubes that were resistant to LPA. HG caused LPA resistance within RECs by elevating ROS, which activated Src-family kinases that stimulated the extracellular signal–related kinase (Erk) pathway, which antagonized LPA-mediated signaling events that were required for regression. This ROS/Src/Erk pathway mechanism appeared to be the same route by which DM induced LPA resistance of retinal neovessels. We conclude that DM/HG reprograms signaling pathways in RECs to induce a state of LPA resistance.
Emerging evidence indicates that bone marrow (BM)-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) contribute to angiogenesis-mediated growth of certain tumors in mice and human. EPCs regulate the angiogenic switch via paracrine secretion of proangiogeneic growth factors and by direct luminal incorporation into sprouting nascent vessels. While the contributions of EPCs to neovessel formation in spontaneous and transplanted tumors and to the metastatic transition have been reported to be relatively low, remarkably, specific EPC ablation in vivo has resulted in severe angiogenesis inhibition and impaired primary and metastatic tumor growth. The existence of a BM reservoir of EPCs, and the selective involvement of EPCs in neovascularization, have attracted considerable interest because these cells represent novel target for therapeutic intervention. In addition, EPCs are also being used as pharmacodynamic surrogate markers for monitoring cancer progression, as well as for optimizing efficacy of anti-angiogenic therapies in the clinic. This review will focus primarily on recent advances and emerging concepts in the field of EPC biology and discuss ongoing debates involving the role of EPCs in tumor neovascularization. For detailed information on the in vitro characterization of EPCs contribution to non-tumor pathologies, the reader is directed towards several excellent reviews and publications    [4–6] and reviews by Bertolini, Voest and Yoder in this issue.
Bone marrow; EPCs; HSCs; Chemotherapy; bone marrow transaplantation; metastasis; angiogenesis
To optimize culture conditions for in vitro prevascularization of tissue-engineered bone constructs, the development of organotypic blood vessels under osteogenic stimulatory conditions (OM) was investigated. Coculture of endothelial cells and mesenchymal stem cells was used to assess proangiogenic effects of mesenchymal stem cells on endothelial cells. Four different culture conditions were evaluated for their effect on development of microvascular endothelial cell networks. Mineralization, deposition of extracellular matrix, and perivascular gene expression were studied in OM. After 3 days, endothelial cells established elongated capillary-like networks, and upregulated expression of vascular markers was seen. After 15 days, all parameters evaluated were significantly increased for cultures in OM. Mature networks developed in OM presented lumens enveloped by basement membrane-like collagen IV, with obvious mineralization and upregulated perivascular gene expression from mesenchymal stem cells. Our results suggest osteogenic stimulatory conditions to be appropriate for in vitro development of vascularized bone implants for tissue engineering.
endothelial cells; mesenchymal stem cells; microvascular networks; osteogenesis
Accumulation of 7-Ketocholesterol (7KCh) in lipid deposits has been implicated in a variety of chronic diseases including atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease and age-related macular degeneration. 7KCh is known to be pro-inflammatory and cytotoxic to various types of cultured cells but little is known about its effects in vivo. In this study we have investigated the effects of 7KCh in vivo by implanting biodegradable wafers into the anterior chamber of the rat eye. The wafers were prepared using a mixture of two biodegradable polymers with different amounts of 7KCh. The 7KCh-containing implants induced massive angiogenesis and inflammation. By contrast, no angiogenesis and very little inflammation were observed with cholesterol-containing implants. The neovessel growth was monitored by fluorescein angiography. Neovessels were observed 4 days post implantation and peaked between 7 to 10 days. The angiography and isolectin IB4 labeling demonstrated that the neovessels originated from the limbus and grew through the cornea. Immunolabeling with anti-CD68 suggested that the 7KCh-containing implants had extensive macrophage infiltration as well as other cell types. A significant increase in VEGF was also observed in 7KCh-containing implants by fluorescent immunolabeling and by immunoblot of the aqueous humor (AH). Direct measurement of VEGF, IL-1β and GRO/KC demonstrated a marked elevation of these factors in the AH of the 7KCh-implants. In summary this study demonstrates two important things: 1) 7KCh is pro-angiogenic and pro–inflammatory in vivo and 2) implants containing 7KCh may be used to create a novel angiogenesis model in rats.