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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2011 Apr 15;140(3-4):207-14. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2010.12.005. Epub 2010 Dec 15.

Gene expression profile of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptors in various cell types of the canine lymph node using laser capture microdissection (LCM).

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VetOMICS Core Facility for Research, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Veterinaerplatz 1, A-1210 Vienna, Austria.


The role of VEGF and its receptors has extensively been studied in tumours. In contrast, the presence and function of VEGF in normal tissues like the lymph node has not been given much attention until now. To study the expression of VEGF, VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2 and VEGFR-3 in the heterogenous cell population of the canine lymph node, laser capture microdissection was used to isolate pure cell fractions of macrophages, lymphocytes, endothelial cells, and capsule cells of the canine lymph node. To clarify if macrophages take up VEGF from the environment or express VEGF, VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2 or VEGFR-3 themselves, the mRNA expression was studied by real-time RT-PCR. After RNA isolation and subsequent analysis with the Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer only RNA samples with appropriate RNA integrity were used for real-time PCR. For the accurate relative quantification of mRNA expression levels several reference genes were evaluated. It was shown that the reference genes HPRT1 and B2M serve as reliable reference genes for gene expression studies in the canine lymph node. Expression data analysis revealed no significant difference in VEGF expression levels between endothelial cells and the other investigated cells. VEGFR-1 expression was significantly lower in lymphocytes. Also macrophages showed a highly significant lower expression of VEGFR-1 compared to endothelial cells. In addition, the VEGFR-2 expression in lymphocytes and macrophages was significantly lower in comparison to endothelial cells. We were not able to detect VEGFR-3 mRNA in the lymphocyte cell population, in macrophages and cells of the lymph node capsule VEGFR-3 was expressed at very low levels. It was shown that laser capture microdissection in combination with quantitative real-time PCR is a valuable tool for studying the expression patterns of specific cells in their microenvironment. Our results support the hypothesis that VEGF and its receptors have other biological roles besides stimulating angiogenesis in the normal lymph node. These biological functions need to be clarified in further studies.

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