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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.


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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