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Angiogenesis. 2005;8(1):43-51.

Wnt/beta-catenin signaling induces proliferation, survival and interleukin-8 in human endothelial cells.

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  • 1Department of OB/GYN, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA.

Abstract

Wnts are secreted signaling proteins able to control diverse biological processes such as cell differentiation and proliferation. Many Wnts act through a canonical, beta-catenin signaling pathway. Here, we report that Wnt receptors and transcriptional effectors are expressed in primary human endothelial cells and that Wnt/beta-catenin signaling promotes angiogenesis. Human umbilical vein and microvascular endothelial cells express Wnt receptors, Frizzled-4, -5, -6, and beta-catenin-associated transcription factors, Tcf-1, -3, -4 and Lef-1. In endothelial cells, ectopic expression of Wnt-1 stabilized cytosolic beta-catenin, demonstrating activation of the Wnt/beta-catenin canonical signaling pathway. Expression of Wnt-1 or a stabilized and active form of beta-catenin, beta-cateninS37A, promoted endothelial cell proliferation. Proliferation induced by Wnt/beta-catenin signaling was optimal in the presence of bFGF. beta-cateninS37A expression in endothelial cells promoted survival after growth factor deprivation. Using matrigel assays, Wnt-1 or beta-cateninS37A expression promoted the formation of capillary-like networks. To help define the effectors of Wnt angiogenic function, microarray analysis was used to compare endothelial cells expressing Wnt-1 to control cells. Interleukin-8, a known angiogenic factor, was identified as a transcriptional target of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in endothelial cells. Expression of either Wnt-1 or beta-cateninS37A induced Interleukin-8 transcripts and secreted protein. We thus conclude that Wnt/beta-catenin signaling promotes angiogenesis possibly via the induction of known angiogenic regulators such as Interleukin-8.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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