Hantaviruses primarily infect endothelial cells (ECs) and nonlytically cause vascular changes that result in hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Acute pulmonary edema during HPS may be caused by capillary leakage and failure of lymphatic vessels to clear fluids. Uniquely regulated lymphatic ECs (LECs) control fluid clearance, although roles for lymphatics in hantavirus disease remain undetermined. Here we report that hantaviruses productively infect LECs and that LEC infection by HPS causing Andes virus (ANDV) and HFRS causing Hantaan virus (HTNV) are inhibited by αvβ3 integrin antibodies. Although αvβ3 integrins regulate permeabilizing responses directed by vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2), we found that only ANDV-infected LECs were hyperpermeabilized by the addition of VEGF-A. However, VEGF-C activation of LEC-specific VEGFR3 receptors blocked ANDV- and VEGF-A-induced LEC permeability. In addition, ∼75% of ANDV-infected LECs became viable mononuclear giant cells, >4 times larger than normal, in response to VEGF-A. Giant cells are associated with constitutive mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activation, and we found that both giant LECs and LEC permeability were sensitive to rapamycin, an mTOR inhibitor, and VEGF-C addition. These findings indicate that ANDV uniquely alters VEGFR2-mTOR signaling responses of LECs, resulting in giant cell and LEC permeability responses. This suggests that ANDV infection alters normal LEC and lymphatic vessel functions which may contribute to edematous fluid accumulation during HPS. Moreover, the ability of VEGF-C and rapamycin to normalize LEC responses suggests a potential therapeutic approach for reducing pulmonary edema and the severity of HPS following ANDV infection.
Hantaviruses infect human endothelial cells and cause two vascular permeability-based diseases: hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Hantavirus infection alone does not permeabilize endothelial cell monolayers. However, pathogenic hantaviruses inhibit the function of αvβ3 integrins on endothelial cells, and hemorrhagic disease and vascular permeability deficits are consequences of dysfunctional β3 integrins that normally regulate permeabilizing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) responses. Here we show that pathogenic Hantaan, Andes, and New York-1 hantaviruses dramatically enhance the permeability of endothelial cells in response to VEGF, while the nonpathogenic hantaviruses Prospect Hill and Tula have no effect on endothelial cell permeability. Pathogenic hantaviruses directed endothelial cell permeability 2 to 3 days postinfection, coincident with pathogenic hantavirus inhibition of αvβ3 integrin functions, and hantavirus-directed permeability was inhibited by antibodies to VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2). These studies demonstrate that pathogenic hantaviruses, similar to αvβ3 integrin-deficient cells, specifically enhance VEGF-directed permeabilizing responses. Using the hantavirus permeability assay we further demonstrate that the endothelial-cell-specific growth factor angiopoietin 1 (Ang-1) and the platelet-derived lipid mediator sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) inhibit hantavirus directed endothelial cell permeability at physiologic concentrations. These results demonstrate the utility of a hantavirus permeability assay and rationalize the testing of Ang-1, S1P, and antibodies to VEGFR2 as potential hantavirus therapeutics. The central importance of β3 integrins and VEGF responses in vascular leak and hemorrhagic disease further suggest that altering β3 or VEGF responses may be a common feature of additional viral hemorrhagic diseases. As a result, our findings provide a potential mechanism for vascular leakage after infection by pathogenic hantaviruses and the means to inhibit hantavirus-directed endothelial cell permeability that may be applicable to additional vascular leak syndromes.
Hantaviruses infect human endothelial cells (ECs) and cause two diseases marked by vascular permeability defects, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Vascular permeability occurs in the absence of EC lysis, suggesting that hantaviruses alter normal EC fluid barrier functions. ECs infected by pathogenic hantaviruses are hyperresponsive to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and this alters the fluid barrier function of EC adherens junctions, resulting in enhanced paracellular permeability. Vascular permeability and VEGF-directed responses are determined by EC-specific microRNAs (miRNAs), which regulate cellular mRNA transcriptional responses. miRNAs mature within cytoplasmic processing bodies (P bodies), and the hantavirus nucleocapsid (N) protein binds RNA and localizes to P bodies, suggesting that hantaviruses may modify miRNA functions within infected ECs. Here we assessed changes in EC miRNAs following infection by the HPS-causing Andes hantavirus (ANDV). We analyzed 352 human miRNAs within ANDV-infected ECs using quantitative real-time (RT)-PCR arrays. Fourteen miRNAs, including six miRNAs that are associated with regulating vascular integrity, were upregulated >4-fold following infection by ANDV. Nine miRNAs were downregulated 3- to 3,400-fold following ANDV infection; these included miR-410, involved in regulating secretion, and miR-218, which is linked to the regulation of EC migration and vascular permeability. We further analyzed changes in miR-126, an EC-specific miRNA that regulates vascular integrity by suppressing SPRED1 and PIK3R2 mRNAs. While miR-126 levels were only slightly altered, we found that SPRED1 and PIK3R2 mRNA levels were increased 10- and 7-fold, respectively, in ANDV-infected ECs but were unaltered in ECs infected by the nonpathogenic Tula hantavirus (TULV). Consistent with increased SPRED1 expression, we found that the level of phospho-cofilin was decreased within ANDV-infected ECs. Moreover, small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown of SPRED1 dramatically decreased the permeability of ANDV-infected ECs in response to VEGF, suggesting that increased SPRED1 contributes to EC permeability following ANDV infection. These findings suggest that interference with normal miRNA functions contributes to the enhanced paracellular permeability of ANDV-infected ECs and that hantavirus regulation of miRNA functions is an additional determinant of hantavirus pathogenesis.
Hantaviruses predominantly infect human endothelial cells and, in the absence of cell lysis, cause two diseases resulting from increased vascular permeability. Andes virus (ANDV) causes a highly lethal acute pulmonary edema termed hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). ANDV infection enhances the permeability of endothelial cells in response to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) by increasing signaling responses directed by the VEGFR2-Src-VE-cadherin pathway, which directs adherens junction (AJ) disassembly. Here we demonstrate that inhibiting pathway-specific VEGFR2 and Src family kinases (SFKs) blocks ANDV-induced endothelial cell permeability. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown of Src within ANDV-infected endothelial cells resulted in an ∼70% decrease in endothelial cell permeability compared to that for siRNA controls. This finding suggested that existing FDA-approved small-molecule kinase inhibitors might similarly block ANDV-induced permeability. The VEGFR2 kinase inhibitor pazopanib as well as SFK inhibitors dasatinib, PP1, bosutinib, and Src inhibitor 1 dramatically inhibited ANDV-induced endothelial cell permeability. Consistent with their kinase-inhibitory concentrations, dasatinib, PP1, and pazopanib inhibited ANDV-induced permeability at 1, 10, and 100 nanomolar 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s), respectively. We further demonstrated that dasatinib and pazopanib blocked VE-cadherin dissociation from the AJs of ANDV-infected endothelial cells by >90%. These findings indicate that VEGFR2 and Src kinases are potential targets for therapeutically reducing ANDV-induced endothelial cell permeability and, as a result, capillary permeability during HPS. Since the functions of VEGFR2 and SFK inhibitors are already well defined and FDA approved for clinical use, these findings rationalize their therapeutic evaluation for efficacy in reducing HPS disease. Endothelial cell barrier functions are disrupted by a number of viruses that cause hemorrhagic, edematous, or neurologic disease, and as a result, our findings suggest that VEGFR2 and SFK inhibitors should be considered for regulating endothelial cell barrier functions altered by additional viral pathogens.
Acute hypoxia causes pulmonary vascular leak and is involved in the pathogenesis of pulmonary edema associated with inflammation, acute altitude exposure, and other critical illnesses. Reactive oxygen species, HIF-1 and VEGF have all been implicated in various hypoxic pathologies, yet the ROS-HIF-1-VEGF pathway in pulmonary vascular leak has not been defined. We hypothesized that the ROS-HIF-1-VEGF pathway has an important role in producing hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular leak. Human pulmonary artery endothelial cell monolayers (HPAEC) were exposed to either normoxia (21% O2) or acute hypoxia (3% O2) for 24 h and monolayer permeability, H2O2, nuclear HIF-1α, and cytosolic VEGF were determined. HPAEC were treated with antioxidant cocktail (AO: ascorbate, glutathione, and α-tocopherol), HIF-1 siRNA, or VEGF soluble binding protein (sFlt-1) to delineate the role of the ROS-HIF-1-VEGF pathway in hypoxia-induced HPAEC leak. Additionally, mice exposed to hypobaric hypoxia (18,000 ft, 10% O2) were treated with the same antioxidant to determine if in-vitro responses corresponded to in-vivo hypoxia stress. Hypoxia increased albumin permeability, H2O2 production, nuclear HIF-1α, and cytosolic VEGF concentration. Treatment with an AO lowered the hypoxia-induced HPAEC monolayer permeability as well as elevation of HIF-1α and VEGF. Treatment of hypoxia-induced HPAEC with either a siRNA designed against HIF-1α or VEGF antagonist soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase (sFlt)-1 decreased monolayer permeability. Mice treated with AO and exposed to hypobaric hypoxia (18,000 ft, 10% O2) had less pulmonary vascular leak than those that were untreated. Our data suggest that hypoxia-induced permeability is due, in part, to the ROS-HIF-1α-VEGF pathway.
Hypoxia; pulmonary edema; reactive oxygen species; HIF-1α; VEGF; HIF
High-permeability pulmonary edema causing acute respiratory distress syndrome is associated with high mortality. Using a model of intratracheal adenovirus (Ad)-mediated overexpression of human vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A165 in mouse lung to induce alveolar permeability and consequent pulmonary edema, we hypothesized that systemic administration of a second adenoviral vector expressing an anti-VEGF antibody (AdαVEGFAb) would protect the lung from pulmonary edema. Pulmonary edema was induced in mice by intratracheal administration of AdVEGFA165. To evaluate anti-VEGF antibody therapy, the mice were treated intravenously with AdαVEGFAb, an adenoviral vector encoding the light and heavy chains of an anti-human VEGF antibody with the bevacizumab (Avastin) antigen-binding site. Lung VEGF-A165 and phosphorylated VEGF receptor (VEGFR)-2 levels, histology, lung wet-to-dry weight ratios, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) levels of total protein were assessed. Administration of AdαVEGFAb to mice decreased AdVEGFA165-induced levels of human VEGF-A165 and phosphorylated VEGFR-2 in the lung. Histological analysis of AdαVEGFAb-treated mice demonstrated a reduction of edema fluid in the lung tissue that correlated with a reduction of lung wet-to-dry ratios and BALF total protein levels. Importantly, administration of AdαVEGFAb 48 hr after induction of pulmonary edema with AdVEGFA165 was effective in suppressing pulmonary edema. Administration of an adenoviral vector encoding an anti-VEGF antibody that is the equivalent of bevacizumab effectively suppresses VEGF-A165-induced high-permeability pulmonary edema, suggesting that anti-VEGF antibody therapy may represent a novel therapy for high-permeability pulmonary edema.
American hantaviruses cause a highly lethal acute pulmonary edema termed hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Hantaviruses nonlytically infect endothelial cells and cause dramatic changes in barrier functions of the endothelium without disrupting the endothelium. Instead hantaviruses cause changes in the function of infected endothelial cells that normally regulate fluid barrier functions of capillaries. The endothelium of arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels is unique and central to the function of vast pulmonary capillary beds, which regulate pulmonary fluid accumulation. The endothelium maintains vascular barrier functions through a complex series of redundant receptors and signaling pathways that serve to both permit fluid and immune cell efflux into tissues and restrict tissue edema. Infection of the endothelium provides several mechanisms for hantaviruses to alter capillary permeability but also defines potential therapeutic targets for regulating acute pulmonary edema and HPS disease. Here we discuss interactions of HPS causing hantaviruses with the endothelium, potential endothelial cell-directed permeability mechanisms, and therapeutic targeting of the endothelium as a means of reducing the severity of HPS disease.
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) are severe diseases associated with hantavirus infection. High levels of virus replication occur in microvascular endothelial cells but without a virus-induced cytopathic effect. However, virus infection results in microvascular leakage, which is the hallmark of these diseases. VE-cadherin is a major component of adherens junctions, and its interaction with the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor, VEGF-R2, is important for maintaining the integrity of the endothelial barrier. Here we report that increased secreted VEGF and concomitant decreased VE-cadherin are seen at early times postinfection of human primary lung endothelial cells with an HPS-associated hantavirus, Andes virus. Furthermore, active virus replication results in increased permeability and loss of the integrity of the endothelial cell barrier. VEGF binding to VEGF-R2 is known to result in dissociation of VEGF-R2 from VE-cadherin and in VE-cadherin activation, internalization, and degradation. Consistent with this, we showed that an antibody which blocks VEGF-R2 activation resulted in inhibition of the Andes virus-induced VE-cadherin reduction. These data implicate virus induction of VEGF and reduction in VE-cadherin in the endothelial cell permeability seen in HPS and suggest potential immunotherapeutic targets for the treatment of the disease.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a substance that stimulates new blood vessel formation, is an important survival factor for endothelial cells. Although overexpressed VEGF in the lung induces pulmonary edema with increased lung vascular permeability, the role of VEGF in the development of acute lung injury remains to be determined.
To evaluate the role of VEGF in the pathogenesis of acute lung injury, we first evaluated the effects of exogenous VEGF and VEGF blockade using monoclonal antibody on LPS-induced lung injury in mice. Using the lung specimens, we performed TUNEL staining to detect apoptotic cells and immunostaining to evaluate the expression of apoptosis-associated molecules, including caspase-3, Bax, apoptosis inducing factor (AIF), and cytochrome C. As a parameter of endothelial permeability, we measured the albumin transferred across human pulmonary artery endothelial cell (HPAEC) monolayers cultured on porous filters with various concentrations of VEGF. The effect of VEGF on apoptosis HPAECs was also examined by TUNEL staining and active caspase-3 immunoassay.
Exogenous VEGF significantly decreased LPS-induced extravascular albumin leakage and edema formation. Treatment with anti-VEGF antibody significantly enhanced lung edema formation and neutrophil emigration after intratracheal LPS administration, whereas extravascular albumin leakage was not significantly changed by VEGF blockade. In lung pathology, pretreatment with VEGF significantly decreased the numbers of TUNEL positive cells and those with positive immunostaining of the pro-apoptotic molecules examined. VEGF attenuated the increases in the permeability of the HPAEC monolayer and the apoptosis of HPAECs induced by TNF-α and LPS. In addition, VEGF significantly reduced the levels of TNF-α- and LPS-induced active caspase-3 in HPAEC lysates.
These results suggest that VEGF suppresses the apoptosis induced by inflammatory stimuli and functions as a protective factor against acute lung injury.
Circulating levels of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are increased during acute lung injury; however, combined effects of HGF and VEGF on pulmonary endothelial cell (EC) permeability remain to be elucidated. We have previously shown differential remodeling of focal adhesions (FA) caused by barrier-protective and barrier-disruptive mechanical and chemical stimuli. This study examined a role of FA protein paxillin in the pulmonary EC barrier responses induced by HGF and VEGF. VEGF increased, but HGF decreased, pulmonary EC permeability. These effects were accompanied by differential patterns of site-specific phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and paxillin and FA redistribution. HGF antagonized random FA formation caused by VEGF challenge and promoted FA accumulation at the cell periphery. HGF attenuated VEGF-induced paxillin redistribution, FA remodeling, and endothelial permeability. SiRNA-based paxillin knockdown attenuated VEGF-induced EC permeability, myosin light chain phosphorylation, and stress fiber and paracellular gap formation. Paxillin knockdown also decreased HGF-induced EC barrier enhancement and suppressed activation of Rac and its effector PAK1. Expression of paxillin-S273 deficient on PAK1 phosphorylation site prevented HGF-induced cytoskeletal remodeling. These data show a dual role of paxillin in the HGF- and VEGF-mediated endothelial barrier regulation and suggest essential paxillin role in the modulation of Rac-Rho crosstalk. Our results also support a model of pulmonary EC barrier recovery during resolution of ALI via switch from VEGF to HGF signaling.
paxillin; small GTPase; pulmonary endothelium; permeability; growth factors
Hantavirus infections are noted for their ability to infect endothelial cells, cause acute thrombocytopenia, and trigger 2 vascular-permeability-based diseases. However, hantavirus infections are not lytic, and the mechanisms by which hantaviruses cause capillary permeability and thrombocytopenia are only partially understood. The role of β3 integrins in hemostasis and the inactivation of β3 integrin receptors by pathogenic hantaviruses suggest the involvement of hantaviruses in altered platelet and endothelial cell functions that regulate permeability. Here, we determined that pathogenic hantaviruses bind to quiescent platelets via a β3 integrin-dependent mechanism. This suggests that platelets may contribute to hantavirus dissemination within infected patients and provides a means by which hantavirus binding to β3 integrin receptors prevents platelet activation. The ability of hantaviruses to bind platelets further suggested that cell-associated hantaviruses might recruit platelets to the endothelial cell surface. Our findings indicate that Andes virus (ANDV)- or Hantaan virus (HTNV)-infected endothelial cells specifically direct the adherence of calcein-labeled platelets. In contrast, cells comparably infected with nonpathogenic Tula virus (TULV) failed to recruit platelets to the endothelial cell surface. Platelet adherence was dependent on endothelial cell β3 integrins and neutralized by the addition of the anti-β3 Fab fragment, c7E3, or specific ANDV- or HTNV-neutralizing antibodies. These findings indicate that pathogenic hantaviruses displayed on the surface of infected endothelial cells bind platelets and that a platelet layer covers the surface of infected endothelial cells. This fundamentally changes the appearance of endothelial cells and has the potential to alter cellular immune responses, platelet activation, and endothelial cell functions that affect vascular permeability. Hantavirus-directed platelet quiescence and recruitment to vast endothelial cell beds further suggests mechanisms by which hantaviruses may cause thrombocytopenia and induce hypoxia. These findings are fundamental to our understanding of pathogenic-hantavirus regulation of endothelial cell responses that contribute to vascular permeability.
Although overexpression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) 165 in the lung causes pulmonary oedema, its role in human acute lung injury (ALI) is unclear. VEGF levels are reported to be lower in bronchoalveolar lavage from ALI patients compared with normals, but these studies did not include a comparably ill control group with noninflammatory pulmonary oedema.
The current authors hypothesised that VEGF levels in pulmonary oedema fluid would be lower in ALI patients compared with control patients with severe hydrostatic pulmonary oedema. VEGF was measured in pulmonary oedema fluid and plasma from 56 patients with ALI and 46 controls with severe hydrostatic pulmonary oedema.
Pulmonary oedema fluid levels of VEGF did not differ between patients with hydrostatic oedema (median 799 pg·mL−1, interquartile range (IQR) 226–2,281) and ALI (median 507, IQR 0.8–1,031). Plasma levels were also the same (median 20.5 pg·mL−1, IQR 0–152 versus 4.8, IQR 0–99.8). There was no association between plasma or oedema fluid VEGF levels and outcomes including mortality.
Vascular endothelial growth factor levels in pulmonary oedema fluid were depressed both in acute lung injury and hydrostatic pulmonary oedema. The decrease in air space concentrations of vascular endothelial growth factor in acute lung injury may not be a function of the degree of lung injury, but rather may result from alveolar flooding.
Acute pulmonary oedema; acute respiratory distress syndrome
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a vascular growth factor which induces the development of new blood vessels (angiogenesis), vascular permeability, and inflammation. In brain, receptors for VEGF have been localized to vascular endothelium, neurons, and glia. VEGF is upregulated after hypoxic injury to the brain, such as occurs with cerebral ischemia or high-altitude edema, and has been implicated in the blood-brain barrier breakdown which occurs during these conditions. Given its recently-described role as an inflammatory mediator, VEGF could also contribute to the inflammatory responses observed in cerebral ischemia. After seizures, blood-brain barrier breakdown and inflammation is also observed in brain, albeit on a lower scale than that observed after stroke. Recent evidence has suggested a role for inflammation in seizure disorders. We have described striking increases in VEGF protein in both neurons and glia after pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus in the brain. Increases in VEGF could contribute to the blood-brain barrier breakdown and inflammation observed after seizures. However, VEGF has also been shown to be neuroprotective across several experimental paradigms, and hence could potentially protect vulnerable cells from damage associated with seizures. Therefore, the role of VEGF after seizures could be either protective or destructive. Although only further research will determine the exact nature of VEGF's role after seizures, preliminary data indicate that VEGF plays a protective role after seizures.
Acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are characterized by a disruption of the endothelium and alveolar epithelial barriers involving increased microvascular permeability, thus resulting in the set of protein-rich pulmonary edema. Angiogenic factors and their receptors, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)/VEGF-receptor (VEGFR) and the angiopoietin (Ang)/Tie2 signaling pathways, play pivotal roles in both angiogenesis and microvascular permeability. The aim of the study was to assess the relationship between angiogenic factors, their soluble receptors and ALI/ARDS associated with critically ill patients, including sepsis, severe trauma, and post-cardiac arrest syndrome (PCAS).
One hundred fifty-nine critically ill patients, including 50 patients with sepsis, 57 patients with severe trauma and 52 resuscitated after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, were divided into three subgroups: including 25 ALI patients, 101 ARDS patients and 22 non-ALI/ARDS patients. The serum levels of angiogenic factors were measured at the time of admission (day 1), as well as day 3 and day 5 and then were compared among the ALI, ARDS and non-ALI/ARDS groups. Their predictive values for developing ALI/ARDS and 28-day mortality were evaluated.
Higher levels of sVEGFR1 and Ang2 were observed in the ALI and ARDS patients than in the non-ALI/ARDS patients during the entire study period. The Ang2/Ang1 ratio in the ARDS group was also significantly higher than that in the non-ALI/ADRS group. The sVEGFR2 levels in the ARDS group on day 1 were significantly lower than those of the non-ALI/ADRS group. In addition, significant positive correlations were seen between the sVEGFR1, Ang2, Ang2/Ang1, and the development of ALI/ARDS in critical illness. There were also significant negative correlations between the minimal value of sVEGFR2, the maximal value of Ang1 and the ALI/ARDS group. In particular, sVEGFR2 and Ang2 were independent predictors of developing ALI/ARDS. Moreover, Ang2 and sVEGFR2 also independently predicted the mortality in ALI/ARDS patients.
Angiogenic factors and their soluble receptors, particularly sVEGFR2 and Ang2, are thus considered to be valuable predictive biomarkers in the development of ALI/ARDS associated with critical illness and mortality in ALI/ARDS patients.
Acute lung injury; Acute respiratory distress syndrome; Angiogenic factors; Vascular endothelial growth factor; Angiopoietin; Outcome
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent stimulator of vascular angiogenesis, permeability, and remodeling that also plays important roles in wound healing and tissue cytoprotection. To begin to define the roles of VEGF in diseases like asthma and COPD, we characterized the effects of lung-targeted transgenic VEGF165 and defined the innate immune pathways that regulate VEGF tissue responses. The former studies demonstrated that VEGF plays an important role in Th2 inflammation because, in addition to stimulating angiogenesis and edema, VEGF induced eosinophilic inflammation, mucus metaplasia, subepithelial fibrosis, myocyte hyperplasia, dendritic cell activation, and airways hyperresponsiveness via IL-13–dependent and -independent mechanisms. VEGF was also produced at sites of aeroallergen-induced Th2 inflammation, and VEGF receptor blockade ameliorated adaptive Th2 inflammation and Th2 cytokine elaboration. The latter studies demonstrated that activation of the RIG-like helicase (RLH) innate immune pathway using viral pathogen–associated molecular patterns such as Poly(I:C) or viruses ameliorated VEGF-induced tissue responses. In accord with these findings, Poly(I:C)-induced RLH activation also abrogated aeroallergen-induced Th2 inflammation. When viewed in combination, these studies suggest that VEGF excess can contribute to the pathogenesis of Th2 inflammatory disorders such as asthma and that abrogation of VEGF signaling via RLH activation can contribute to the pathogenesis of viral disorders such as virus-induced COPD exacerbations. They also suggest that RLH activation may be a useful therapeutic strategy in asthma and related disorders.
asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; virus; RIG-like helicase; mitochondrial antiviral signaling molecule
BACKGROUND: Based on assessment of mRNA expression, the lung is a major site of expression of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) gene, largely from type II alveolar epithelial cells. With the knowledge that VEGF can function to induce vascular leak, we hypothesized that to protect the lung from pulmonary edema, the VEGF produced in the lung must be compartmentalized from the pulmonary endothelium, and thus must be compartmentalized to the surface of the respiratory epithelium. MATERIAL AND METHODS: To assess this hypothesis, we quantified the levels of VEGF in human respiratory epithelial lining fluid recovered by bronchoalveolar lavage from normal individuals. RESULTS: Strikingly, human respiratory epithelial lining fluid contains 11 +/- 5 ng/mL as quantified by ELISA, a 500-fold greater concentration than plasma (22 +/- 10 pg/mL, p < 0.0005). Western analysis of BAL fluid proteins showed the major VEGF isoform in respiratory epithelial lining fluid is VEGF165. CONCLUSIONS: With the knowledge that proteins of molecular mass like VEGF (34 to 46 kDa) slowly diffuse across the alveolar epithelium, it is likely that this high level "reservoir" of VEGF protein on the respiratory epithelial surface plays a role in normal lung endothelial biology. However, this compartmentalized VEGF reservoir may also be a "Damocles sword" poised to induce lung endothelial permeability in conditions of acute lung injury when the integrity of the alveolar epithelial barrier is breached.
Background and aims
Acute liver failure (ALF) is frequently complicated by cerebral edema, systemic inflammation and multi-organ dysfunction. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) may stimulate liver regeneration but can also be pro-inflammatory, activating endothelial cells and increasing permeability, actions mediated through Src kinase signalling. We therefore examined whether a Src inhibitor could have therapeutic potential in ALF.
Murine ALF was induced with azoxymethane. Liver pathology was graded by a blinded examiner and apoptosis quantified by immunohistochemistry. Cerebral VEGF expression was imaged using VEGF-GFP transgenic mice. Circulating and macrophage-secreted VEGF levels were measured. Experimental animals received a Src inhibitor or vehicle controls.
VEGF was undetectable in normal plasma but reached a mean of 835pg/ml at grade III encephalopathy (p<0.001). Ammonia, lipopolysaccharide and interferon-gamma acted synergistically to enhance VEGF secretion by macrophages. Production of VEGF by cerebral cortical astrocytes increased with disease progression. Late treatment with inhibitors of Src or VEGF did not improve liver histology, encephalopathy or survival. However, early use of a Src kinase inhibitor significantly reduced hepatic injury, delayed encephalopathy and allowed 25% of mice to survive an otherwise lethal insult.
Systemic and cerebral VEGF levels are significantly elevated during experimental ALF and may be exacerbated by hyperammonemia and macrophage activation. Early use of a Src inhibitor reduced hepatocellular injury and enabled survival, indicating such agents may have some promise in the treatment of ALF.
Acute liver failure; ammonia; azoxymethane; bosutinib; encephalopathy; VEGF; Src
Cerebral edema and fluid-filled cysts are common accompaniments of brain tumors. They contribute to the mass effect imposed by the primary tumor and are often responsible for a patient's signs and symptoms. Cerebral edema significantly increases the morbidity associated with tumor biopsy, excision, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Both edema and cyst formation are thought to result from a deficiency in the blood-brain barrier, with consequent extravasation of water, electrolytes, and plasma proteins from altered tumor microvessels. The resultant expansion of the cerebral interstitial space contributes to the elevated intracranial pressure observed with brain tumors. Departure from the typical blood-brain barrier microvascular architecture may only partially explain the occurrence of edema and tumor cyst formation. Biochemical mediators have also been implicated in vascular extravasation. Vascular permeability factor or vascular endothelial growth factor (VPF/VEGF) is a protein that has recently been isolated from a variety of tumors including human brain tumors. VPFb is an extraordinarily potent inducer of both microvascular extravasation (edemagenesis) and the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). Its role in tumor growth and progression would therefore appear pivotal. Herein, the author presents an updated account of the investigation of VPF. Historical and clinical perspectives of the study and treatment of tumor associated edema are provided. The efficacy of high-dose dexamethasone in the treatment of neoplastic brain edema is discussed. A hypothetical role for VPF in edemagenesis is presented and discussed. It is hoped that an expanded understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the genesis of edema will ultimately facilitate therapeutic intervention.
In cerebral malaria, the binding of parasitized erythrocytes to the cerebral endothelium and the consequent angiogenic dysregulation play a key role in pathogenesis. Because vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is widely regarded as a potent stimulator of angiogenesis, edema, inflammation, and vascular remodeling, the plasma levels of VEGF and the soluble form of the VEGF receptor (sVEGFR)-1 and -2 in uncomplicated malaria patients and healthy adults were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to examine their roles in malaria. The results showed that VEGF and sVEGFR-2 levels were significantly elevated in malaria patients compared with healthy adults. Moreover, it was confirmed that malarial parasite antigens induced VEGF secretion from the human mast cell lines HMC-1 or KU812 cell. This is the first report to suggest that the interaction of VEGF and sVEGFR-2 is involved in the host immune response to malarial infection and that malarial parasites induce VEGF secretion from human mast cells.
Sudden exposure of nonacclimatized individuals to high altitude can easily lead to high altitude illnesses. High altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) is the most lethal form of high altitude illness. The present study was designed to investigate the ability of Rhodiola crenulata extract (RCE), an herbal medicine traditionally used as an antiacute mountain sickness remedy, to attenuate hypoxia-induced pulmonary injury. Exposure of animals to hypobaric hypoxia led to a significant increase in pathological indicators for pulmonary edema, including the lung water content, disruption of the alveolar-capillary barrier, and protein-rich fluid in the lungs. In addition, hypobaric hypoxia also increased oxidative stress markers, including (ROS) production, (MDA) level, and (MPO) activity. Furthermore, overexpression of plasma (ET-1), (VEGF) in (BALF), and (HIF-1α) in lung tissue was also found. However, pretreatment with RCE relieved the HAPE findings by curtailing all of the hypoxia-induced lung injury parameters. These findings suggest that RCE confers effective protection for maintaining the integrity of the alveolar-capillary barrier by alleviating the elevated ET-1 and VEGF levels; it does so by reducing hypoxia-induced oxidative stress. Our results offer substantial evidence to support arguments in favor of traditional applications of Rhodiola crenulata for antihigh altitude illness.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is implicated in motor neurone degeneration. In normal individuals, hypoxia is known to induce an overexpression of VEGF, as measured in CSF. We show that patients with ALS do not manifest this VEGF overexpression in the presence of hypoxia. Although VEGF gene expression is mainly stimulated by hypoxia, we have measured lower VEGF levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from hypoxaemic patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) than in CSF from normoxaemic patients with ALS. In contrast, hypoxaemic neurological controls displayed higher levels than normoxaemic neurological controls. There was a negative correlation between VEGF levels and the severity of hypoxaemia in patients with ALS, suggesting deregulation of VEGF in ALS.
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; VEGF; hypoxia; motor neurone degeneration
Angiogenesis is important in the pathophysiology of endometriosis, a condition characterized by implantation of ectopic endometrium in the peritoneal cavity. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent angiogenic factor involved in physiological and pathological angiogenesis, and elevated levels of VEGF are found in peritoneal fluid of patients with endometriosis. Our aim was to investigate the site of expression and regulation of VEGF in endometriosis. VEGF immunoreactivity was found in tissue macrophages present in ectopic endometrium and in activated peritoneal fluid macrophages. Macrophage activation was highest in women with endometriosis, and media conditioned by peritoneal fluid macrophages from these women caused a VEGF-dependent increase in endothelial cell proliferation above that seen from normal women. Peritoneal fluid macrophages secreted VEGF in response to ovarian steroids, and this secretion was enhanced after activation with lipopolysaccharide. Peritoneal fluid macrophages expressed receptors for steroid hormones. VEGF receptors flt and KDR (kinase domain receptor) were also detected, suggesting autocrine regulation. During the menstrual cycle, expression of flt was constant but that of KDR was increased in the luteal phase, at which time the cells migrated in response to VEGF. KDR expression and the migratory response were significantly higher in patients with endometriosis. This study demonstrates that activated macrophages are a major source of VEGF in endometriosis and that this expression is regulated directly by ovarian steroids.
and management of pleural effusions is an important clinical problem
yet the pathogenesis of pleural fluid accumulation is poorly
understood. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent
inducer of capillary permeability that is produced by both malignant
and inflammatory cells. A study was undertaken to determine whether
VEGF has a potential pathogenic role in the development of pleural
effusions and whether VEGF receptors are present on human pleural
inflamed pleura were examined immunohistochemically for the presence of
FLT-1 (the fms-like tyrosine kinase receptor of VEGF). VEGF levels were
measured by ELISA in 78 consecutive patients presenting with
undiagnosed unilateral pleural effusions and the levels were correlated
with the aetiology of the effusions.
staining of normal and diseased pleura demonstrated the presence of the
FLT-1 VEGF receptor on human mesothelial cells. Median VEGF levels were
2500 pg/ml in the malignant group and 305 pg/ml in the non-malignant
group (median difference 1397.5 pg/ml (95% CI 851 to 2693),
p<0.005). Median VEGF levels varied according to tumour histology.
VEGF levels were also significantly raised compared with transudates
(median 36.5 pg/ml) in empyema (4651 pg/ml (95% CI 833 to 10 000),
p<0.001) and parainfectious effusions (360 pg/ml (95% CI 46 to 597),
report of VEGF receptors on pleural mesothelial cells has indicated a
potential mechanism for the biological activity of VEGF on pleural
tissue. VEGF levels are raised in the majority of exudative effusions,
implying a pathogenic role for this molecule in the development of
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
Diabetic macular edema is the major cause of visual acuity impairment in diabetic patients. The exact etiopathogenesis is unknown and, currently, grid/focal retinal laser photocoagulation represents the recommended treatment. It has been demonstrated that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays a key role in the pathogenesis of diabetic macular edema by mediating vascular permeability and accumulation of intracellular and extracellular fluid, and thereby represents an appealing candidate as a therapeutic target for the treatment of diabetic macular edema. The advent of intravitreal anti-VEGF drugs has opened up a new era for the management of diabetic macular edema. At present, three anti-VEGF substances are available for routine clinical use, ie, pegaptanib, ranibizumab, and bevacizumab. The aim of this review is to summarize the evidence supporting the use of ranibizumab in clinical practice. Most of the studies analyzed in this review are prospective, controlled clinical trials that have focused on documenting the therapeutic effect of ranibizumab and its safety, providing encouraging results.
ranibizumab; diabetic macular edema; anti-VEGF; diabetic macular edema