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J Biol Chem. 1999 Oct 22;274(43):31047-54.

Vascular endothelial growth factor effect on endothelial cell proliferation, migration, and platelet-activating factor synthesis is Flk-1-dependent.

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  • 1Research Center, Montreal Heart Institute, Department of Pharmacology, University of Montreal, Montreal, Qu├ębec H1T 1C8, Canada.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent inducer of endothelial cell (EC) proliferation and migration in vitro as well as inflammation in vivo. We showed recently that VEGF effect on vascular permeability was dependent on the synthesis of platelet-activating factor (PAF) by EC. Consequently, we sought to evaluate by antisense knockdown of gene expression the contribution of VEGF receptors (Flt-1 and Flk-1) on these events. VEGF (10(-11) to 10(-8) M) elicited a dose-dependent increase of bovine aortic EC proliferation, migration, and PAF synthesis by up to 2.05-, 1.31- and 35.9-fold above basal levels, respectively. A treatment with two modified antisense oligomers (1-5 x 10(-7) M) directed against Flk-1 mRNA blocked by 100, 91, and 85% the proliferation, migration, and PAF synthesis mediated by VEGF, respectively. A treatment with two antisense oligomers directed against Flt-1 mRNA failed to modulate these activities. The use of placenta growth factor (up to 10(-8) M), an Flt-1-specific agonist, induced only a slight increase (0.6-fold) of PAF synthesis. These data illustrate the crucial role of Flk-1 in EC stimulation by VEGF. The capacity to inhibit the protein synthesis of Flt-1 and Flk-1 by antisense oligonucleotides provides a new approach to block VEGF pathological effects in vivo.

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