Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Pathol. 2001 Sep;159(3):993-1008.

Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1 modulates vascular endothelial growth factor-mediated angiogenesis via nitric oxide.

Author information

Department of Reproductive and Vascular Biology, The Medical School, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, United Kingdom.


The known responses of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are mediated through VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2/KDR) in endothelial cells. However, it is unknown whether VEGFR-1 (Flt-1) is an inert decoy or a signaling receptor for VEGF during physiological or pathological angiogenesis. Here we report that VEGF-stimulated nitric oxide (NO) release is inhibited by blockade of VEGFR-1 and that VEGFR-1 via NO negatively regulates of VEGFR-2-mediated proliferation and promotes formation of capillary networks in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Inhibition of VEGFR-1 in a murine Matrigel angiogenesis assay induced large aneurysm-like structures. VEGF-induced capillary growth over 14 days was inhibited by anti-VEGFR-2-blocking antibody as determined by reduced tube length between capillary connections (P < 0.0001) in an in vitro angiogenesis assay. In contrast, loss of VEGFR-1 activity with a neutralizing anti-VEGFR-1 antibody resulted in an increase in the accumulation of endothelial cells (P < 0.0001) and a dramatic decrease in the number of capillary connections that were restored by the addition of NO donor. Porcine aortic endothelial (PAE) cells expressing human VEGFR-1 but not VEGFR-2 plated on growth factor-reduced Matrigel rearranged into tube-like structures that were prevented by anti-VEGFR-1 antibody or a cGMP inhibitor. VEGF stimulated NO release from VEGFR-1- but not VEGFR-2-transfected endothelial cells and placenta growth factor-1 stimulated NO release in HUVECs. Blockade of VEGFR-1 increased VEGF-mediated HUVEC proliferation that was inhibited by NO donors, and potentiated by NO synthase inhibitors. These data indicate that VEGFR-1 is a signaling receptor that promotes endothelial cell differentiation into vascular tubes, in part by limiting VEGFR-2-mediated endothelial cell proliferation via NO, which seems to be a molecular switch for endothelial cell differentiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication type, MeSH terms, Substances

Publication type

MeSH terms


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center