Verteporfin (VP) was first used in Photodynamic therapy, where a non-thermal laser light (689 nm) in the presence of oxygen activates the drug to produce highly reactive oxygen radicals, resulting in local cell and tissue damage. However, it has also been shown that Verteporfin can have non-photoactivated effects such as interference with the YAP-TEAD complex of the HIPPO pathway, resulting in growth inhibition of several neoplasias. More recently, it was proposed that, another non-light mediated effect of VP is the formation of cross-linked oligomers and high molecular weight protein complexes (HMWC) that are hypothesized to interfere with autophagy and cell growth. Here, in a series of experiments, using human uveal melanoma cells (MEL 270), human embryonic kidney cells (HEK) and breast cancer cells (MCF7) we showed that Verteporfin-induced HMWC require the presence of light. Furthermore, we showed that the mechanism of this cross-linking, which involves both singlet oxygen and radical generation, can occur very efficiently even after lysis of the cells, if the lysate is not protected from ambient light. This work offers a better understanding regarding VP's mechanisms of action and suggests caution when one studies the non-light mediated actions of this drug.
Vascular endothelial cell growth factor A (VEGF) is a biologically and therapeutically important growth factor because it promotes angiogenesis in response to hypoxia, which underlies a wide variety of both physiological and pathological settings. We report here that both VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2)-positive and -negative cells depended on VEGF to endure hypoxia. VEGF enhanced the viability of platelet-derived growth factor receptor α (PDGFRα)-positive and VEGFR2-negative cells by enabling indirect activation of PDGFRα, thereby reducing the level of p53. We conclude that the breadth of VEGF's influence extends beyond VEGFR-positive cells and propose a plausible mechanistic explanation of this phenomenon.
The role of lymphatics in atherosclerosis is not yet understood. Here, we investigate lymphatic growth dynamics and marker expression in atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE(-/-)) mice. The prolymphangiogenic growth factor, VEGF-C, was elevated in atherosclerotic aortic walls. Despite increased VEGF-C, we found that adventitial lymphatics regress during the course of formation of atherosclerosis (P < 0.01). Similar to lymphatic regression, the number of lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor 1 (LYVE-1(+)) macrophages decreased in the aortic adventitia of apoE(-/-) mice with atherosclerosis (P < 0.01). Intimal lymphatics in the atherosclerotic lesions exhibited an atypical phenotype, with the expression of podoplanin and VEGF receptor 3 (VEGFR-3) but not of LYVE-1 and prospero homeobox protein 1. In the aortas of atherosclerotic animals, we found markedly increased soluble VEGFR-2. We hypothesized that the elevated soluble VEGFR-2 that was found in the aortas of apoE(-/-) mice with atherosclerosis binds to and diminishes the activity of VEGF-C. This trapping mechanism explains, despite increased VEGF-C in the atherosclerotic aortas, how adventitial lymphatics regress. Lymphatic regression impedes the drainage of lipids, growth factors, inflammatory cytokines, and immune cells. Insufficient lymphatic drainage could thus exacerbate atherosclerosis formation. Our study contributes new insights to previously unknown dynamic changes of adventitial lymphatics. Targeting soluble VEGFR-2 in atherosclerosis may provide a new strategy for the liberation of endogenous VEGF-C and the prevention of lymphatic regression.-Taher, M., Nakao, S., Zandi, S., Melhorn, M. I., Hayes, K. C., Hafezi-Moghadam, A. Phenotypic transformation of intimal and adventitial lymphatics in atherosclerosis: a regulatory role for soluble VEGF receptor 2.