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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012 May 4;421(2):221-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.03.140. Epub 2012 Apr 4.

Protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR2) mediates VEGF production through the ERK1/2 pathway in human glioblastoma cell lines.

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  • 1Institute of Medical Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.


Glioblastoma (GBM) is a highly aggressive cancer type characterized by intense neovascularization. Several lines of evidence indicate that blood clotting enzymes play an important role in the tumor microenvironment, mainly through the activation of protease-activated receptors (PAR). In particular, PAR1 and PAR2 isoforms may activate signal transduction pathways that promote a number of pro-tumoral responses. However, little is known concerning the role of PAR1/PAR2 in GBM progression. In this study, we investigated the expression and function of PAR1 and PAR2 in the human GBM cell lines A172 and U87-MG. We also evaluated the effect of agonist peptides for PAR1 (PAR1-AP) and PAR2 (PAR2-AP) on signaling pathways and the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Immunoblotting assays showed that A172 and U87-MG constitutively express PAR1 and PAR2. Treatment of GBM cells with PAR1-AP or PAR2-AP enhanced Akt (protein kinase B) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) phosphorylation in a time-dependent manner. LY29042 and PD98059, inhibitors of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways, decreased PAR-mediated activation of Akt and ERK1/2, respectively. In addition, we observed that PAR2, but not PAR1, activation increased VEGF secretion in U87-MG and A172 cells. Notably, only PD98059 reduced PAR2-mediated VEGF production by GBM cells. Our results suggest that PAR2 modulates VEGF production through the MAPK/ERK1/2 pathway, and not the PI3K/Akt pathway, in human GBM cell lines. Therefore, the PAR2/MAPK signaling axis might be regarded as a relevant target for adjuvant treatment of GBM with a possible impact on tumor angiogenesis.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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