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Blood. 2002 Apr 15;99(8):2703-11.

Regulation of endothelial cell branching morphogenesis by endogenous chemokine stromal-derived factor-1.

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  • 1Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch and the Laboratory of Pathology, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The chemokine stromal-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) and its unique receptor, CXCR4, are required for normal cardiovascular development, but a critical role for SDF-1 in postnatal vascular remodeling and the mechanisms underlying SDF-1/CXCR-4 vasculogenesis are unclear. Here we show that SDF-1 is expressed by the vascular endothelium from selected healthy and tumor tissues. In vitro, primary endothelial cells constitutively express SDF-1 that is detected in the cytoplasm, on the cell surface, and in the culture supernatant. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) increase SDF-1 expression in endothelial cells. In functional studies, pertussis toxin and antibodies to SDF-1 or CXCR-4 disrupt extracellular matrix-dependent endothelial cell tube formation in vitro. This morphogenic process is associated with time-dependent modulation of surface CXCR-4 expression that changes from being diffuse to being polarized and subsequently lost. In vivo, pertussis toxin and neutralizing antibodies directed at SDF-1 inhibit growth factor-dependent neovascularization. These results indicate that SDF-1/CXCR-4 identifies VEGF- and bFGF-regulated autocrine signaling systems that are essential regulators of endothelial cell morphogenesis and angiogenesis.

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