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Cancer Sci. 2008 Dec;99(12):2373-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2008.00961.x. Epub 2008 Nov 17.

Angiopoietin-1 alters tumor growth by stabilizing blood vessels or by promoting angiogenesis.

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Department of Signal Transduction, Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University, 3-1 Yamadaoka, Suita-shi, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


The maturation of blood vessels requires mural cell adhesion to endothelial cells. Angiopoietin-1 (Ang1), a ligand for Tie2 receptor expressed on endothelial cells, plays a critical role in cell adhesion between mural cells and endothelial cells and in endothelial cell sprouting from preexisting vessels in the absence of mural cells. Much information has been amassed on the Tie2-Ang1 system in physiological blood vessel formation during embryogenesis; however, the role of Ang1 in the tumor environment and its interaction with mural cells has not been well documented. Here we studied how Ang1 regulates maturation of blood vessels using the human colon cancer cell line HT29 and the human prostate cancer cell line PC3, and studied how Ang1 affects tumor growth. In a xenograft tumor model using female nude mice, we found that Ang1 enhanced angiogenesis and resulted in tumor growth in the case of PC3 tumors but suppressed tumor growth in the case of HT29 tumors. In PC3 tumors, the number of mural cells adhering to endothelial cells was less than that in HT29 tumors. Ang1 induced sprouting angiogenesis in PC3 tumors although there was little maturation of blood vessels. On the other hand, there was abundant mural cell adhesion to endothelial cells in HT29 tumors and Ang1 did not induce angiogenesis. These results suggest that Ang1 alters tumor growth in a manner that is dependent on the adhesion of mural cells and their localization in the tumor environment.

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