Angiogenesis

Angiogenesis Publications

Wu W, Ma G, Qi H, Dong L, Chen F, Wang Y, Mao X, Guo X, Cui J, Matsubara JA, Vanhaesebroeck B, Yan X, Zhao G, Zhang S, Lei H. Genome Editing of Pik3cd Impedes Abnormal Retinal Angiogenesis. Hum Gene Ther 2023;34(1-2):30-41.Abstract
Abnormal angiogenesis is associated with myriad human diseases, including proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). Signaling transduction through phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) plays a critical role in angiogenesis. Herein, we showed that p110δ, the catalytic subunit of PI3Kδ, was highly expressed in pathological retinal vascular endothelial cells (ECs) in a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) and in fibrovascular membranes from patients with PDR. To explore novel intervention with PI3Kδ expression, we developed a recombinant dual adeno-associated viral (rAAV) system for delivering CRISPR/Cas9 in which Streptococcus pyogenes (Sp) Cas9 expression was driven by an endothelial specific promoter of the intercellular adhesion molecule 2 (pICAM2) to edit genomic Pik3cd, the gene encoding p110δ. We then demonstrated that infection of cultured mouse vascular ECs with the dual rAAV1s of rAAV1-pICAM2-SpCas9 and rAAV1-SpGuide targeting genomic Pik3cd resulted in 80% DNA insertion/deletion in the locus of genomic Pik3cd and 70% depletion of p110δ expression. Furthermore, we showed that in the mouse model of OIR editing retinal Pik3cd with the dual rAAV1s resulted in not only a significant decrease in p110δ expression, and Akt activation, but also a dramatic reduction in pathological retinal angiogenesis. These findings reveal that Pik3cd editing is a novel approach to treating abnormal retinal angiogenesis.
Wu M, Matar DY, Yu Z, Chen Z, Knoedler S, Ng B, Darwish O, Haug V, Friedman L, Orgill DP, Panayi AC. Modulation of Lymphangiogenesis in Incisional Murine Diabetic Wound Healing Using Negative Pressure Wound Therapy. Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle) 2023;Abstract
Objective: Despite the significant function of lymphatics in wound healing, and frequent clinical use of Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT), the effect of mechanical force application on lymphangiogenesis remains to be elucidated. We utilize a murine incisional wound healing model to assess the mechanisms of lymphangiogenesis following NPWT. Approach: Dorsal incisional skin wounds were created on diabetic mice (genetically obese leptin receptor-deficient mice [db/db]; n = 30) and covered with an occlusive dressing (Control, n = 15) or NPWT (-125 mmHg, continuous, 24 h for 7 days; NPWT, n = 15). The wounds were macroscopically assessed for 28 days. Tissue was harvested on day 10 for analysis. Qualitative functional analysis of lymphatic drainage was performed on day 28 using Evans Blue staining (n = 2). Results: NPWT increased lymphatic vessel density (40 ± 20 vs. 12 ± 6 podoplanin [PDPN]+ and 25 ± 9 vs. 14 ± 8 lymphatic vessel endothelial receptor 1 [LYVE-1]+) and vessel diameter (28 ± 9 vs. 12 ± 2 μm). Western blotting verified the upregulation of LYVE-1 with NPWT. Leukocyte presence was higher with NPWT (22% ± 3.7% vs. 9.1% ± 4.1% lymphocyte common antigen [CD45]+) and the leukocytes were predominately B cells clustered within vessels (8.8% ± 2.5% vs. 18% ± 3.6% B-lymphocyte antigen CD20 [CD20]+). Macrophage presence was lower in the NPWT group. Lymphatic drainage was increased in the NPWT group, which exhibited greater Evans Blue positivity. Innovation: The lymphangiogenic effects take place independent of macrophage infiltration, appearing to correlate with B cell presence. Conclusion: NPWT promotes lymphangiogenesis in incisional wounds, significantly increasing the lymph vessel density and diameter. This study highlights the potential of NPWT to stimulate lymphatic drainage and wound healing of surgical incisions.
Wang Z, Yemanyi F, Blomfield AK, Bora K, Huang S, Liu C-H, Britton WR, Cho SS, Tomita Y, Fu Z, Ma J-X, Li W-H, Chen J. Amino acid transporter SLC38A5 regulates developmental and pathological retinal angiogenesis. Elife 2022;11Abstract
Amino acid (AA) metabolism in vascular endothelium is important for sprouting angiogenesis. SLC38A5 (solute carrier family 38 member 5), an AA transporter, shuttles neutral AAs across cell membrane, including glutamine, which may serve as metabolic fuel for proliferating endothelial cells (ECs) to promote angiogenesis. Here, we found that Slc38a5 is highly enriched in normal retinal vascular endothelium, and more specifically, in pathological sprouting neovessels. Slc38a5 is suppressed in retinal blood vessels from Lrp5-/- and Ndpy/- mice, both genetic models of defective retinal vascular development with Wnt signaling mutations. Additionally, Slc38a5 transcription is regulated by Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Genetic deficiency of Slc38a5 in mice substantially delays retinal vascular development and suppresses pathological neovascularization in oxygen-induced retinopathy modeling ischemic proliferative retinopathies. Inhibition of SLC38A5 in human retinal vascular ECs impairs EC proliferation and angiogenic function, suppresses glutamine uptake, and dampens vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2. Together these findings suggest that SLC38A5 is a new metabolic regulator of retinal angiogenesis by controlling AA nutrient uptake and homeostasis in ECs.
D'Amore PA, Alcaide P. Macrophage efferocytosis with VEGFC and lymphangiogenesis: rescuing the broken heart. J Clin Invest 2022;132(9)Abstract
Cardiac repair following ischemic injury is indispensable for survival and requires a coordinated cellular response involving the mobilization of immune cells from the secondary lymphoid organs to the site of damage. Efferocytosis, the engulfment of cell debris and dying cells by innate immune cells, along with lymphangiogenesis, the formation of new lymphatic vessels, are emerging as central to the cardiac healing response. In this issue of the JCI, Glinton et al. used state-of-the-art approaches to demonstrate that efferocytosis induced vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGFC) in myeloid cells and stimulated lymphangiogenesis and cardiac repair. These findings provide impactful mechanistic information that can be leveraged to therapeutically target pathways in cardiac repair and ischemic heart failure.
Zhu S, Zidan A, Pang K, Musayeva A, Kang Q, Yin J. Promotion of corneal angiogenesis by sensory neuron-derived calcitonin gene-related peptide. Exp Eye Res 2022;220:109125.Abstract
The normal cornea has no blood vessels but has abundant innervation. There is emerging evidence that sensory nerves, originated from the trigeminal ganglion (TG) neurons, play a key role in corneal angiogenesis. In the current study, we examined the role of TG sensory neuron-derived calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) in promoting corneal neovascularization (CNV). We found that CGRP was expressed in the TG and cultured TG neurons. In the cornea, minimal CGRP mRNA was detected and CGRP immunohistochemical staining was exclusively co-localized with corneal nerves, suggesting corneal nerves are likely the source of CGRP in the cornea. In response to intrastromal suture placement and neovascularization in the cornea, CGRP expression was increased in the TG. In addition, we showed that CGRP was potently pro-angiogenic, leading to vascular endothelial cell (VEC) proliferation, migration, and tube formation in vitro and corneal hemangiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in vivo. In a co-culture system of TG neurons and VEC, blocking CGRP signaling in the conditioned media of TG neurons led to decreased VEC migration and tube formation. More importantly, subconjunctival injection of a CGRP antagonist CGRP8-37 reduced suture-induced corneal hemangiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in vivo. Taken together, our data suggest that TG sensory neuron and corneal nerve-derived CGRP promotes corneal angiogenesis.
Shen J, Rossato FA, Cano I, Ng YSE. Novel engineered, membrane-tethered VEGF-A variants promote formation of filopodia, proliferation, survival, and cord or tube formation by endothelial cells via persistent VEGFR2/ERK signaling and activation of CDC42/ROCK pathways. FASEB J 2021;35(12):e22036.Abstract
Therapeutic angiogenesis would be clinically valuable in situations such as peripheral vascular disease in diabetic patients and tissue reperfusion following ischemia or injury, but approaches using traditional isoforms of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF) have had little success. The isoform VEGF165 is both soluble and matrix-associated, but can cause pathologic vascular changes. Freely diffusible VEGF121 is not associated with pathologic angiogenesis, but its failure to remain in the vicinity of the targeted area presents therapeutic challenges. In this study, we evaluate the cellular effects of engineered VEGF variants that tether extracellular VEGF121 to the cell membrane with the goal of activating VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) in a sustained, autologous fashion in endothelial cells. When expressed by primary human retinal endothelial cells (hRECs), the engineered, membrane-tethered variants eVEGF-38 and eVEGF-53 provide a lasting VEGF signal that induces cell proliferation and survival, increases endothelial permeability, promotes the formation of a cord/tube network, and stimulates the formation of elongated filopodia on the endothelial cells. The engineered VEGF variants activate VEGFR2, MAPK/ERK, and the Rho GTPase mediators CDC42 and ROCK, activities that are required for the formation of the elongated filopodia. The sustained, pro-angiogenic activities induced by eVEGF-38 and eVEGF-53 support the potential of engineered VEGF variants-overexpressing endothelial cells as a novel combination of gene and cell-based therapeutic strategy for stimulating endothelial cell-autologous therapeutic angiogenesis.
Comin CH, Tsirukis DI, Sun Y, Xu X. Quantification of retinal blood leakage in fundus fluorescein angiography in a retinal angiogenesis model. Sci Rep 2021;11(1):19903.Abstract
Blood leakage from the vessels in the eye is the hallmark of many vascular eye diseases. One of the preclinical mouse models of retinal blood leakage, the very-low-density-lipoprotein receptor deficient mouse (Vldlr-/-), is used for drug screening and mechanistic studies. Vessel leakage is usually examined using Fundus fluorescein angiography (FFA). However, interpreting FFA images of the Vldlr-/- model is challenging as no automated and objective techniques exist for this model. A pipeline has been developed for quantifying leakage intensity and area including three tasks: (i) blood leakage identification, (ii) blood vessel segmentation, and (iii) image registration. Morphological operations followed by log-Gabor quadrature filters were used to identify leakage regions. In addition, a novel optic disk detection algorithm based on graph analysis was developed for registering the images at different timepoints. Blood leakage intensity and area measured by the methodology were compared to ground truth quantifications produced by two annotators. The relative difference between the quantifications from the method and those obtained from ground truth images was around 10% ± 6% for leakage intensity and 17% ± 8% for leakage region. The Pearson correlation coefficient between the method results and the ground truth was around 0.98 for leakage intensity and 0.94 for leakage region. Therefore, we presented a computational method for quantifying retinal vascular leakage and vessels using FFA in a preclinical angiogenesis model, the Vldlr-/- model.
Uemura A, Fruttiger M, D'Amore PA, De Falco S, Joussen AM, Sennlaub F, Brunck LR, Johnson KT, Lambrou GN, Rittenhouse KD, Langmann T. VEGFR1 signaling in retinal angiogenesis and microinflammation. Prog Retin Eye Res 2021;84:100954.Abstract
Five vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) ligands (VEGF-A, -B, -C, -D, and placental growth factor [PlGF]) constitute the VEGF family. VEGF-A binds VEGF receptors 1 and 2 (VEGFR1/2), whereas VEGF-B and PlGF only bind VEGFR1. Although much research has been conducted on VEGFR2 to elucidate its key role in retinal diseases, recent efforts have shown the importance and involvement of VEGFR1 and its family of ligands in angiogenesis, vascular permeability, and microinflammatory cascades within the retina. Expression of VEGFR1 depends on the microenvironment, is differentially regulated under hypoxic and inflammatory conditions, and it has been detected in retinal and choroidal endothelial cells, pericytes, retinal and choroidal mononuclear phagocytes (including microglia), Müller cells, photoreceptor cells, and the retinal pigment epithelium. Whilst the VEGF-A decoy function of VEGFR1 is well established, consequences of its direct signaling are less clear. VEGFR1 activation can affect vascular permeability and induce macrophage and microglia production of proinflammatory and proangiogenic mediators. However the ability of the VEGFR1 ligands (VEGF-A, PlGF, and VEGF-B) to compete against each other for receptor binding and to heterodimerize complicates our understanding of the relative contribution of VEGFR1 signaling alone toward the pathologic processes seen in diabetic retinopathy, retinal vascular occlusions, retinopathy of prematurity, and age-related macular degeneration. Clinically, anti-VEGF drugs have proven transformational in these pathologies and their impact on modulation of VEGFR1 signaling is still an opportunity-rich field for further research.
Khajavi M, Zhou Y, Schiffer AJ, Bazinet L, Birsner AE, Zon L, D'Amato RJ. Identification of Basp1 as a novel angiogenesis-regulating gene by multi-model system studies. FASEB J 2021;35(5):e21404.Abstract
We have previously used the genetic diversity available in common inbred mouse strains to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) responsible for the differences in angiogenic response using the corneal micropocket neovascularization (CoNV) assay. Employing a mouse genome-wide association study (GWAS) approach, the region on chromosome 15 containing Basp1 was identified as being significantly associated with angiogenesis in inbred strains. Here, we developed a unique strategy to determine and verify the role of BASP1 in angiogenic pathways. Basp1 expression in cornea had a strong correlation with a haplotype shared by mouse strains with varied angiogenic phenotypes. In addition, inhibition of BASP1 demonstrated a dosage-dependent effect in both primary mouse brain endothelial and human microvascular endothelial cell (HMVEC) migration. To investigate its role in vivo, we knocked out basp1 in transgenic kdrl:zsGreen zebrafish embryos using a widely adopted CRISPR-Cas9 system. These embryos had severely disrupted vessel formation compared to control siblings. We further show that basp1 promotes angiogenesis by upregulating β-catenin gene and the Dll4/Notch1 signaling pathway. These results, to the best of our knowledge, provide the first in vivo evidence to indicate the role of Basp1 as an angiogenesis-regulating gene and opens the potential therapeutic avenues for a wide variety of systemic angiogenesis-dependent diseases.
Fu Z, Smith LEH. Cellular senescence in pathologic retinal angiogenesis. Trends Endocrinol Metab 2021;32(7):415-416.Abstract
Pathologic angiogenesis causes blindness in many eye diseases. Crespo-Garcia, Tsuruda, and Dejda et al. employed bioinformatics to characterize cell senescence as a primary factor in the common pathogenesis of retinopathies. They validated their findings using human and mouse retina with proliferative retinopathy. Clearance of senescent cells suppressed neovessel growth.
Di Zazzo A, Gaudenzi D, Yin J, Coassin M, Fernandes M, Dana R, Bonini S. Corneal angiogenic privilege and its failure. Exp Eye Res 2021;204:108457.Abstract
The cornea actively maintains its own avascular status to preserve its ultimate optical function. This corneal avascular state is also defined as "corneal angiogenic privilege", which results from a critical and sensitive balance between anti-angiogenic and pro-angiogenic mechanisms. In our review, we aim to explore the complex equilibrium among multiple mediators which prevents neovascularization in the resting cornea, as well as to unveil the evolutive process which leads to corneal angiogenesis in response to different injuries.
Whitmore HAB, Amarnani D, O'Hare M, Delgado-Tirado S, Gonzalez-Buendia L, An M, Pedron J, Bushweller JH, Arboleda-Velasquez JF, Kim LA. TNF-α signaling regulates RUNX1 function in endothelial cells. FASEB J 2021;35(2):e21155.Abstract
Runt-related transcription factor 1 (RUNX1) acts as a mediator of aberrant retinal angiogenesis and has been implicated in the progression of proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). Patients with PDR, retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), and wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) have been found to have elevated levels of Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF-α) in the eye. In fibrovascular membranes (FVMs) taken from patients with PDR RUNX1 expression was increased in the vasculature, while in human retinal microvascular endothelial cells (HRMECs), TNF-α stimulation causes increased RUNX1 expression, which can be modulated by RUNX1 inhibitors. Using TNF-α pathway inhibitors, we determined that in HRMECs, TNF-α-induced RUNX1 expression occurs via JNK activation, while NF-κB and p38/MAPK inhibition did not affect RUNX1 expression. JNK inhibitors were also effective at stopping high D-glucose-stimulated RUNX1 expression. We further linked JNK to RUNX1 through Activator Protein 1 (AP-1) and investigated the JNK-AP-1-RUNX1 regulatory feedback loop, which can be modulated by VEGF. Additionally, stimulation with TNF-α and D-glucose had an additive effect on RUNX1 expression, which was downregulated by VEGF modulation. These data suggest that the downregulation of RUNX1 in conjunction with anti-VEGF agents may be important in future treatments for the management of diseases of pathologic ocular angiogenesis.
Wu W, Xia X, Tang L, Yao F, Xu H, Lei H. Normal vitreous promotes angiogenesis via activation of Axl. FASEB J 2021;35(1):e21152.Abstract
Vitreous has been reported to prevent tumor angiogenesis, but our previous findings indicate that vitreous activate the signaling pathway of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt, which plays a critical role in angiogenesis. The goal of this research is to determine which role of vitreous plays in angiogenesis-related cellular responses in vitro. We found that in human retinal microvascular endothelial cells (HRECs) vitreous activates a number of receptor tyrosine kinases including Anexelekto (Axl), which plays an important role in angiogenesis. Subsequently, we discovered that depletion of Axl using CRISPR/Cas9 and an Axl-specific inhibitor R428 suppress vitreous-induced Akt activation and cell proliferation, migration, and tuber formation of HRECs. Therefore, this line of research not only demonstrate that vitreous promotes angiogenesis in vitro, but also reveal that Axl is one of receptor tyrosine kinases to mediate vitreous-induced angiogenesis in vitro, thereby providing a molecular basis for removal of vitreous as cleanly as possible when vitrectomy is performed in treating patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
Wang J, Wang X, Gao Y, Lin Z, Chen J, Gigantelli J, Shapiro JI, Xie Z, Pierre SV. Stress Signal Regulation by Na/K-ATPase As a New Approach to Promote Physiological Revascularization in a Mouse Model of Ischemic Retinopathy. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2020;61(14):9.Abstract
Purpose: The identification of target pathways to block excessive angiogenesis while simultaneously restoring physiological vasculature is an unmet goal in the therapeutic management of ischemic retinopathies. pNaKtide, a cell-permeable peptide that we have designed by mapping the site of α1 Na/K-ATPase (NKA)/Src binding, blocks the formation of α1 NKA/Src/reactive oxygen species (ROS) amplification loops and restores physiological ROS signaling in a number of oxidative disease models. The aim of this study was to evaluate the importance of the NKA/Src/ROS amplification loop and the effect of pNaKtide in experimental ischemic retinopathy. Methods: Human retinal microvascular endothelial cells (HRMECs) and retinal pigment epithelium (ARPE-19) cells were used to evaluate the effect of pNaKtide on viability, proliferation, and angiogenesis. Retinal toxicity and distribution were assessed in those cells and in the mouse. Subsequently, the role and molecular mechanism of NKA/Src in ROS stress signaling were evaluated biochemically in the retinas of mice exposed to the well-established protocol of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR). Finally, pNaKtide efficacy was assessed in this model. Results: The results suggest a key role of α1 NKA in the regulation of ROS stress and the Nrf2 pathway in mouse OIR retinas. Inhibition of α1 NKA/Src by pNaKtide reduced pathologic ROS signaling and restored normal expression of hypoxia-inducible factor 1-α/vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Unlike anti-VEGF agents, pNaKtide did promote retinal revascularization while inhibiting neovascularization and inflammation. Conclusions: Targeting α1 NKA represents a novel strategy to develop therapeutics that not only inhibit neovascularization but also promote physiological revascularization in ischemic eye diseases.
Lužnik Z, Anchouche S, Dana R, Yin J. Regulatory T Cells in Angiogenesis. J Immunol 2020;205(10):2557-2565.Abstract
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are crucial mediators of immune homeostasis. They regulate immune response by suppressing inflammation and promoting self-tolerance. In addition to their immunoregulatory role, a growing body of evidence highlights the dynamic role of Tregs in angiogenesis, the process of forming new blood vessels. Although angiogenesis is critically important for normal tissue regeneration, it is also a hallmark of pathological processes, including malignancy and chronic inflammation. Interestingly, the role of Tregs in angiogenesis has been shown to be highly tissue- and context-specific and as a result can yield either pro- or antiangiogenic effects. For these reasons, there is considerable interest in determining the molecular underpinnings of Treg-mediated modulation of angiogenesis in different disease states. The present review summarizes the role of Tregs in angiogenesis and mechanisms by which Tregs regulate angiogenesis and discusses how these mechanisms differ in homeostatic and pathological settings.

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