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1.  Lactotrophs: The new and major source for VEGF secretion and the influence of ECM on rat pituitary function in vitro 
Oncology Reports  2015;33(5):2129-2134.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays a pivotal role in pituitary endocrine function by influencing fenestration and blood vessel growth. Folliculostellate (FS) cells, which represent only a small number of pituitary cells, are recognized to produce VEGF. Tissue sections and primary pituitary cell cultures from rat pituitary glands were performed to co-localize VEGF and pituitary lactotrophs, which represents nearly 50% of all pituitary cells, by immunofluorescence. VEGF is co-localized with prolactin-producing cells in vivo and in vitro. FS cells are present infrequently in vivo (1.6%) and in vitro (2.4%). Culture supernatants were analyzed for the presence of VEGF by ELISA. VEGF levels are always significantly lower in supernatants from the cells that are seeded on Matrigel extracellular matrix (ECM) compared to the cells grown on plastic. Lower VEGF concentrations in supernatants from the pituitary cells cultured on ECM may reflect a more adequate cell environment compared to culture on plastic. These results demonstrate for the first time, that VEGF is expressed by lactotrophs, which outnumber FS cells. These results are of potential clinical relevance especially in oncology for the interpretation of studies investigating anti-angiogenic treatment of pituitary tumors.
PMCID: PMC4391590  PMID: 25778675
pituitary; lactotrophs; folliculostellate cells; VEGF; cell culture; extracellular matrix
2.  The inhibition of tyrosine kinase receptor signalling in leiomyosarcoma cells using the small molecule kinase inhibitor PTK787/ZK222584 (Vatalanib®) 
International Journal of Oncology  2014;45(6):2267-2277.
Leiomyosarcomas remain challenging tumors to manage and novel therapy strategies besides radiation and conventional chemotherapy are needed. Targeting angiogenesis by inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) of the tumor vasculature with small molecules is a promising new therapy. It has been shown recently that these receptors are not only expressed on tumor endothelium but also on tumor cells themselves. Thus, we investigated the expression of members of the VEGF receptor (VEGFR) family and corresponding growth factors in leiomyosarcoma tissue specimens and in the leiomyosarcoma cell lines SK-LMS-1 and SK-UT-1. We evaluated the influence of the VEGFR inhibitor PTK787/ZK222584 (PTK787) on cell growth, migration, apoptosis and phosphorylation of intracellular signalling molecules. In human leiomyosarcoma tissue specimens VEGFR-1/-2 and platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR-β) were strongly expressed. Both leiomyosarcoma cell lines expressed VEGFR-1/-3 and PDGFR-β but VEGFR-2 protein expression was positive only in SK-UT-1. SK-LMS-1 and SK-UT-1 cells secreted high and low amounts of VEGF-A, respectively, whereas PDGF-BB secretion was similar in both cell lines. Application of PTK787 led to partial inhibition of PDGF-BB-activated AKT/p90RSK and ERK1/2 signalling pathways. In contrast, protein phosphorylation was not affected by PTK787 in VEGF-A-treated cells. PTK787 turned out to inhibit cell migration even though no effects were observed upon stimulation with VEGF-A or PDGF-BB. In line, cell growth in leiomyosarcoma cell lines remained unchanged upon PTK787 treatment alone and with subsequent VEGF-A- or PDGF-BB-stimulation. However, VEGF-A, but not PDGF-BB-treated cells showed increased cell death upon PTK787 treatment. VEGFR family members are expressed in leiomyosarcomas in vivo and in vitro. Upon receptor stimulation, PTK787 is able to inhibit subsequent phosphorylation events and influences cell survival but not metabolic activity and migration. Thus, the inhibitor is possibly an additional option in the treatment of leiomyosarcomas.
PMCID: PMC4215578  PMID: 25340839
leiomyosarcoma; receptor tyrosine kinase; small molecule inhibitor; PTK787/ZK222584; tumor; angiogenesis; VEGF; VEGF receptor
3.  Pitfalls in mutational testing and reporting of common KIT and PDGFRA mutations in gastrointestinal stromal tumors 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:106.
Mutation analysis of KIT and PDGFRA genes in gastrointestinal stromal tumors is gaining increasing importance for prognosis of GISTs and for prediction of treatment response. Several groups have identified specific mutational subtypes in KIT exon 11 associated with an increased risk of metastatic disease whereas GISTs with PDGFRA mutations often behave less aggressive. Furthermore, in advanced GIST disease with proven KIT exon 9 mutation the doubled daily dose of 800 mg imatinib increases the progression free survival and is now recommended both in the European and the American Guidelines. In Germany, there are still no general rules how to perform mutational analysis.
When comparing results from six different molecular laboratories we recognized the need of standardisation. Six German university laboratories with experience in mutation analysis in GISTs joined together to develop recommendations for the mutation analysis of the most common and clinically relevant hot spots, i. e. KIT exons 9 and 11 and PDGFRA exon 18. We performed a three-phased interlaboratory trial to identify pitfalls in performing molecular analysis in GISTs.
We developed a design for a continuous external laboratory trial. In 2009 this external trial was conducted by 19 laboratories via the initiative for quality assurance in pathology (QuiP) of the German Society of Pathology and the Professional Association of German Pathologists.
By performing a three-phased internal interlaboratory trial and conducting an external trial in Germany we were able to identify potential pitfalls when performing KIT and PDGFRA mutational analysis in gastrointestinal stromal tumors. We developed standard operation procedures which are provided with the manuscript to allow other laboratories to prevent these pitfalls.
PMCID: PMC2910708  PMID: 20598160
4.  Proteinase-3 as the major autoantigen of c-ANCA is strongly expressed in lung tissue of patients with Wegener's granulomatosis 
Arthritis Research  2002;4(3):220-225.
Proteinase-3 (PR-3) is a neutral serine proteinase present in azurophil granules of human polymorphonuclear leukocytes and serves as the major target antigen of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies with a cytoplasmic staining pattern (c-ANCA) in Wegener's granulomatosis (WG). The WG disease appears as severe vasculitis in different organs (e.g. kidney, nose and lung). Little is known about the expression and distribution of PR-3 in the lung. We found that PR-3 is expressed in normal lung tissue and is upregulated in lung tissue of patients with WG. Interestingly, the parenchymal cells (pneumocytes type I and II) and macrophages, and not the neutrophils, express PR-3 most strongly and may contribute to lung damage in patients with WG via direct interaction with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antobodies (ANCA). These findings suggest that the PR-3 expression in parenchymal cells of lung tissue could be at least one missing link in the etiopathogenesis of pulmonary pathology in ANCA-associated disease.
PMCID: PMC111026  PMID: 12010574
granuloma; in situ hybridization; pneumocytes; proteinase-3; Wegener's granulomatosis
5.  Microtumor growth initiates angiogenic sprouting with simultaneous expression of VEGF, VEGF receptor-2, and angiopoietin-2 
Tumors have been thought to initiate as avascular aggregates of malignant cells that only later induce vascularization. Recently, this classic concept of tumor angiogenesis has been challenged by the suggestion that tumor cells grow by co-opting preexisting host vessels and thus initiate as well-vascularized tumors without triggering angiogenesis. To discriminate between these two mechanisms, we have used intravital epifluorescence microscopy and multi-photon laser scanning confocal microscopy to visualize C6 microglioma vascularization and tumor cell behavior. To address the mechanisms underlying tumor initiation, we assessed the expression of VEGF, VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2), and angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2), as well as endothelial cell proliferation. We show that multicellular aggregates (<< 1 mm3) initiate vascular growth by angiogenic sprouting via the simultaneous expression of VEGFR-2 and Ang-2 by host and tumor endothelium. Host blood vessels are not co-opted by tumor cells but rather are used as trails for tumor cell invasion of the host tissue. Our data further suggest that the established microvasculature of growing tumors is characterized by a continuous vascular remodeling, putatively mediated by the expression of VEGF and Ang-2. The results of this study suggest a new concept of vascular tumor initiation that may have important implications for the clinical application of antiangiogenic strategies.
PMCID: PMC150910  PMID: 11901186

Results 1-5 (5)