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J Exp Med. 2017 Nov 6;214(11):3331-3346. doi: 10.1084/jem.20171178. Epub 2017 Sep 28.

Thrombospondin1 (TSP1) replacement prevents cerebral cavernous malformations.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA.
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA.
Neurovascular Surgery Program, Section of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, The University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences, Chicago, IL.
Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA


KRIT1 mutations are the most common cause of cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM). Acute Krit1 gene inactivation in mouse brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs) changes expression of multiple genes involved in vascular development. These changes include suppression of Thbs1, which encodes thrombospondin1 (TSP1) and has been ascribed to KLF2- and KLF4-mediated repression of Thbs1 In vitro reconstitution of TSP1 with either full-length TSP1 or 3TSR, an anti-angiogenic TSP1 fragment, suppresses heightened vascular endothelial growth factor signaling and preserves BMEC tight junctions. Furthermore, administration of 3TSR prevents the development of lesions in a mouse model of CCM1 (Krit1ECKO ) as judged by histology and quantitative micro-computed tomography. Conversely, reduced TSP1 expression contributes to the pathogenesis of CCM, because inactivation of one or two copies of Thbs1 exacerbated CCM formation. Thus, loss of Krit1 function disables an angiogenic checkpoint to enable CCM formation. These results suggest that 3TSR, or other angiogenesis inhibitors, can be repurposed for TSP1 replacement therapy for CCMs.

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