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Angiogenesis. 2011 Dec;14(4):503-13. doi: 10.1007/s10456-011-9234-0. Epub 2011 Sep 16.

Chronic hypoxia impairs extracellular nucleotide metabolism and barrier function in pulmonary artery vasa vasorum endothelial cells.

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  • 1MediCity Research Laboratory, University of Turku and National Institute of Health and Welfare, Tykistökatu 6A, 20520, Turku, Finland.


Vascular remodeling plays a pivotal role in a variety of pathophysiological conditions where hypoxia and inflammation are prominent features. Intravascular ATP, ADP and adenosine are known as important regulators of vascular tone, permeability and homeostasis, however contribution of purinergic signalling to endothelial cell growth and angiogenesis remains poorly understood. By using vasa vasorum endothelial cells (VVEC) isolated from pulmonary artery adventitia of control and chronically hypoxic neonatal calves, these studies were aimed to evaluate the effect of hypoxia on biochemical and functional properties of microvascular endothelial network at the sites of angiogenesis. In comparison with normoxic controls, VVEC from hypoxic animals are characterized by (1) drastically impaired nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase-1 (NTPDase-1/CD39) and ecto-5'-nucleotidase/CD73 activities with respective increases in basal extracellular ATP and ADP levels (2) higher proliferative responses to low micromolar concentrations of ATP and ADP; and (3) enhanced permeability and disordered adenosinergic control of vascular barrier function (measured as a paracellular flux of 70 kDa fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran). Together, these results suggest that unique pattern of purine-mediated angiogenic activation and enhanced leakiness of VVEC from chronically hypoxic vessels may be defined by disordered endothelial nucleotide homeostasis at sites of active neovascularization.

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