Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Cancer. 2012 Feb 15;130(4):857-64. doi: 10.1002/ijc.26094. Epub 2011 May 25.

VEGF directly suppresses activation of T cells from ovarian cancer patients and healthy individuals via VEGF receptor Type 2.

Author information

Department of Clinical Therapeutics, Medical School, University of Athens, Athens, Greece.


The role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in tumor angiogenesis is well characterized; nevertheless, it is also a key element in promoting tumor evasion of the immune system by downregulating dendritic cell maturation and thus T cell activation. We sought to investigate the possible direct effect of VEGF on T cell activation and through which type of VEGF receptor (VEGFR) it exerts this effect. Circulating T cells from healthy donors and ovarian cancer patients were expanded in cultures with anti-CD3 and IL-2 with or without VEGF for 14 days, and the number of T cells was assessed. Cultured T cells were also tested for their cytotoxic activity in a standard 4-hr (51) Cr-release assay, and the expression of VEGFRs 1, 2 and 3 was assayed by flow cytometry, immunocytochemistry and Western blotting. To assess the ability of activated T cells to secrete VEGF, levels in culture supernatants were measured by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. The addition of VEGF in cultures significantly reduced T cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner. Protein expression studies demonstrated that CD3(+) T cells express VEGFR-2 on their surface upon activation. Experiments with anti-VEGFR-2 antibodies showed that the direct suppressive effect of VEGF on T cell proliferation is mediated by VEGFR-2. We also showed that VEGF significantly reduced the cytotoxic activity of T cells and that activated T cells secrete VEGF in the culture environment. Overall, our study shows that T cells secret VEGF and expresses VEGFR-2 upon activation. VEGF directly suppresses T cell activation via VEGF receptor type 2.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center