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Cancer Cell. 2004 Nov;6(5):485-95.

Loss of HIF-1alpha in endothelial cells disrupts a hypoxia-driven VEGF autocrine loop necessary for tumorigenesis.

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Molecular Biology Section, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California 92093, USA.


We deleted the hypoxia-responsive transcription factor HIF-1alpha in endothelial cells (EC) to determine its role during neovascularization. We found that loss of HIF-1alpha inhibits a number of important parameters of EC behavior during angiogenesis: these include proliferation, chemotaxis, extracellular matrix penetration, and wound healing. Most strikingly, loss of HIF-1alpha in EC results in a profound inhibition of blood vessel growth in solid tumors. These phenomena are all linked to a decreased level of VEGF expression and loss of autocrine response of VEGFR-2 in HIF-1alpha null EC. We thus show that a HIF-1alpha-driven, VEGF-mediated autocrine loop in EC is an essential component of solid tumor angiogenesis.

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