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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Oct;1773(10):1558-71. Epub 2007 Jun 16.

Intermittent hypoxia changes HIF-1alpha phosphorylation pattern in endothelial cells: unravelling of a new PKA-dependent regulation of HIF-1alpha.

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Laboratory of Biochemistry and Cellular Biology, FUNDP-University of Namur, 61 rue de Bruxelles, 5000 Namur, Belgium.


Vascularized tumors are exposed to intermittent hypoxia, that is, hypoxia followed by periods of reoxygenation. Abnormal structure and dysfunction of tumor blood vessels are responsible for these conditions. These repeated short periods of hypoxia concern tumor cells as well as endothelial cells. However, the effects of intermittent hypoxia are poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of intermittent hypoxia on endothelial cells and particularly on HIF-1alpha, a central actor in adaptive response to hypoxia. For that, endothelial cells were exposed to four repeated cycles of 1-h hypoxia followed by 30 min of reoxygenation. We showed that repeated cycles of hypoxia/reoxygenation induced a modification in HIF-l alpha phosphorylation pattern: a progressive increase in HIF-1alpha phosphorylated form was observed during the hypoxic periods. Activation of p42/p44, Akt and PKA was observed in parallel. PKA was shown to be involved in the phosphorylation of HIF-lalpha under intermittent hypoxia, while p42/p44 and Akt were not. As HIF-1 activity is often associated with enhanced cell survival, a better knowledge of the effects of intermittent hypoxia on endothelial cells and the highlight of particular mechanisms induced by intermittent hypoxia are essential to understand the behavior of endothelial cells during neo-angiogenesis.

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