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FASEB J. 2008 Dec;22(12):4146-53. doi: 10.1096/fj.07-104018. Epub 2008 Aug 15.

Apelin/APJ signaling system: a potential link between adipose tissue and endothelial angiogenic processes.

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1
Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U858, Toulouse, Cedex 4, France. oxana.koundouzova@toulouse.inserm.fr

Abstract

Adipose tissue is an active endocrine organ that produces a variety of secretory factors involved in the initiation of angiogenic processes. The bioactive peptide apelin is the endogenous ligand of the G protein-coupled receptor, APJ. Here we investigated the potential role of apelin and its receptor, APJ, in the angiogenic responses of human endothelial cells and the development of a functional vascular network in a model of adipose tissue development in mice. Treatment of human umbilical vein endothelial cells with apelin dose-dependently increased angiogenic responses, including endothelial cell migration, proliferation, and Matrigel(R) capillary tubelike structure formation. These endothelial effects of apelin were due to activation of APJ, because siRNA directed against APJ, which led to long-lasting down-regulation of APJ mRNA, abolished cell migration induced by apelin in contrast to control nonsilencing siRNA. Hypoxia up-regulated the expression of apelin in 3T3F442A adipocytes, and we therefore determined whether apelin could play a role in adipose tissue angiogenesis in vivo. Epididymal white adipose tissue (EWAT) transplantation was performed as a model of adipose tissue angiogenesis. Transplantation led to increased apelin mRNA levels 2 and 5 days after transplantation associated with tissue hypoxia, as evidenced by hydroxyprobe staining on tissue sections. Graft revascularization evolved in parallel, as the first functional vessels in EWAT grafts were observed 2 days after transplantation and a strong angiogenic response was apparent on day 14. This was confirmed by determination of graft hemoglobin levels, which are indicative of functional vascularization and were strongly increased 5 and 14 days after transplantation. The role of apelin in the graft neovascularization was then assessed by local delivery of stable complex apelin-targeting siRNA leading to dramatically reduced apelin mRNA levels and vascularization (quantified by hemogloblin content) in grafted EWAT on day 5 when compared with control siRNA. Taken together, our data provide the first evidence that apelin/APJ signaling pathways play a critical role in the development of the functional vascular network in adipose tissue. In addition, we have shown that adipocyte-derived apelin can be up-regulated by hypoxia. These findings provide novel insights into the complex relationship between adipose tissue and endothelial vascular function and may lead to new therapeutic strategies to modulate angiogenesis.

PMID:
18708591
DOI:
10.1096/fj.07-104018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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