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Cancer Res. 2005 Mar 15;65(6):2433-40.

Antiangiogenic concentrations of paclitaxel induce an increase in microtubule dynamics in endothelial cells but not in cancer cells.

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  • 1Interactions Entre Systemes Proteiques Et Differenciation Dans La Cellule Tumorale, FRE-Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France.


Microtubule-targeted drugs such as paclitaxel exhibit potent antiangiogenic activity at very low concentrations, but the mechanism underlying such an effect remains unknown. To understand the involvement of microtubules in angiogenesis, we analyzed the dynamic instability behavior of microtubules in living endothelial cells [human microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC-1) and human umbilical vascular endothelial cells (HUVEC)] following 4 hours of paclitaxel treatment. Unexpectedly, antiangiogenic concentrations of paclitaxel (0.1-5 nmol/L) strongly increased microtubule overall dynamicity in both HMEC-1 (86-193%) and HUVEC (54-83%). This increase was associated with increased microtubule growth and shortening rates and extents and decreased mean duration of pauses. The enhancement of microtubule dynamics by paclitaxel seemed to be specific to antiangiogenic concentrations and to endothelial cells. Indeed, cytotoxic concentration (100 nmol/L) of paclitaxel suppressed microtubule dynamics by 40% and 54% in HMEC-1 and HUVECs, respectively, as observed for all tested concentrations in A549 tumor cells. After 4 hours of drug incubation, antiangiogenic concentrations of paclitaxel that inhibited endothelial cell proliferation without apoptosis (1-5 nmol/L) induced a slight decrease in anaphase/metaphase ratio, which was more pronounced and associated with increased mitotic index after 24 hours of incubation. Interestingly, the in vitro antiangiogenic effect also occurred at 0.1 nmol/L paclitaxel, a concentration that did not alter mitotic progression and endothelial cell proliferation but was sufficient to increase interphase microtubule dynamics. Altogether, our results show that paclitaxel mediates antiangiogenesis by an increase in microtubule dynamics in living endothelial cells and suggest that the impairment of interphase microtubule functions is responsible for the inhibition of angiogenesis.

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