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J Biol Chem. 2001 Mar 9;276(10):7614-20. Epub 2000 Dec 6.

Vascular endothelial growth factor expression of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1), and E-selectin through nuclear factor-kappa B activation in endothelial cells.

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National Creative Research Initiatives Center for Cardiac Regeneration, and the Department of Urology, Chonbuk National University School of Medicine, Chonju, 560-180, Republic of Korea.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) induces adhesion molecules on endothelial cells during inflammation. Here we examined the mechanisms underlying VEGF-stimulated expression of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1), and E-selectin in human umbilical vein endothelial cells. VEGF (20 ng/ml) increased expression of ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and E-selectin mRNAs in a time-dependent manner. These effects were significantly suppressed by Flk-1/kinase-insert domain containing receptor (KDR) antagonist and by inhibitors of phospholipase C, nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB, sphingosine kinase, and protein kinase C, but they were not affected by inhibitors of mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase (MEK) 1/2 or nitric-oxide synthase. Unexpectedly, the phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3'-kinase inhibitor wortmannin enhanced both basal and VEGF-stimulated adhesion molecule expression, whereas insulin, a PI 3'-kinase activator, suppressed both basal and VEGF-stimulated expression. Gel shift analysis revealed that VEGF stimulated NF-kappaB activity. This effect was inhibited by phospholipase C, NF-kappaB, or protein kinase C inhibitor. VEGF increased VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 protein levels and increased leukocyte adhesiveness in a NF-kappaB-dependent manner. These results suggest that VEGF-stimulated expression of ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and E-selectin mRNAs was mainly through NF-kappaB activation with PI 3'-kinase-mediated suppression, but was independent of nitric oxide and MEK. Thus, VEGF simultaneously activates two signal transduction pathways that have opposite functions in the induction of adhesion molecule expression. The existence of parallel inverse signaling implies that the induction of adhesion molecule expression by VEGF is very finely regulated.

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