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Cancer Biol Ther. 2004 Apr;3(4):402-5. Epub 2004 Apr 29.

Inhibition of Tie-2 signaling induces endothelial cell apoptosis, decreases Akt signaling, and induces endothelial cell expression of the endogenous anti-angiogenic molecule, thrombospondin-1.

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  • 1Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Small molecule inhibitors of endothelial cell specific tyrosine kinases are currently under investigation as potential means to block tumor angiogenesis. We have investigated the utility of blocking Tie-2 signaling in endothelial cells as a potential anti-angiogenic strategy. We have found that interruption of Tie-2 signaling either via RNAi or overexpression of a kinase-dead Tie-2 led to loss of endothelial cell viability, even in the presence of serum. Mechanistically, this is linked to a block in Akt signaling and increased thrombospondin expression. Thrombospondins are endogenous anti-angiogenic matricellular proteins known to regulate tumor growth and angiogenesis. We observed that both Tie-2 and subsequent PI3Kinase signaling regulates thrombospondin-1 expression. These data have lead to the model that Angiopoietin signaling through Tie-2 activates PI3Kinase/Akt, which represses thrombospondin expression. Thus, targeting Tie-2 with small molecules maybe efficacious as an anti-angiogenic therapy.

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  • Whence thrombospondin? [Cancer Biol Ther. 2004]
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