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Am J Pathol. 2006 Jun;168(6):1793-807.

Pulmonary artery adventitial fibroblasts cooperate with vasa vasorum endothelial cells to regulate vasa vasorum neovascularization: a process mediated by hypoxia and endothelin-1.

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Department of Pediatric Cardiology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 4200 East 9th Avenue, Box C218, Denver, CO 80262, USA.


The precise cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating adventitial vasa vasorum neovascularization, which occurs in the pulmonary arterial circulation in response to hypoxia, remain unknown. Here, using a technique to isolate and culture adventitial fibroblasts (AdvFBs) and vasa vasorum endothelial cells (VVECs) from the adventitia of pulmonary arteries, we report that hypoxia-activated pulmonary artery AdvFBs exhibited pro-angiogenic properties and influenced the angiogenic phenotype of VVEC, in a process of cell-cell communication involving endothelin-1 (ET-1). We demonstrated that AdvFBs, either via co-culture or conditioned media, stimulated VVEC proliferation and augmented the self-assembly and integrity of cord-like networks that formed when VVECs where cultured on Matrigel. In addition, hypoxia-activated AdvFBs produced ET-1, suggesting a paracrine role for this pro-angiogenic molecule in these processes. When co-cultured on Matrigel, AdvFBs and VVECs self-assembled into heterotypic cord-like networks, a process augmented by hypoxia but attenuated by either selective endothelin receptor antagonists or oligonucleotides targeting prepro-ET-1 mRNA. From these observations, we propose that hypoxia-activated AdvFBs exhibit pro-angiogenic properties and, as such, communicate with VVECs, in a process involving ET-1, to regulate vasa vasorum neovascularization occurring in the adventitia of pulmonary arteries in response to chronic hypoxia.

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