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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Sep 26;374(3):512-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.07.057. Epub 2008 Jul 21.

Opposing actions of Notch1 and VEGF in post-natal cardiac valve endothelial cells.

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Vascular Biology Program, Department of Surgery, Children's Hospital Boston, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The endothelium of the cardiac valves is unique compared the rest of the vasculature in its ability to undergo an endothelial-to-mesenchymal transformation (EMT) in vitro in response to transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta). EMT is a critical event during embryonic valve development, and both VEGF-A and Notch1 have been shown to function in this process. Here we investigate the effects of VEGF-A and Notch1 on EMT in clonal endothelial cell (EC) populations isolated from adult aortic valve leaflets. VEGF-A inhibited TGF-beta-induced EMT. Endothelial growth, however, was not affected by VEGF-A or TGF-beta. A positive role for Notch1 was revealed in three experiments: (1) TGF-beta induced Notch1 mRNA in valve ECs, (2) a gamma-secretase inhibitor of Notch1 signaling blocked EMT, and (3) overexpression of a ligand-independent form of Notch1 induced EMT. These results demonstrate, for the first time, that VEGF-A and Notch1 play opposing roles in regulating EMT in post-natal valve endothelium.

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