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Stem Cell Res Ther. 2017 Oct 24;8(1):237. doi: 10.1186/s13287-017-0684-1.

VEGF promotes endothelial progenitor cell differentiation and vascular repair through connexin 43.

Author information

1
Institute of Cardiovascular Research, Xinqiao Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, 400037, China.
2
Cardiovascular Department, First People's Hospital of Chong Qing Liang Jiang New Zone, Chongqing, 401120, China.
3
Department of Occupational Health, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, 400038, China.
4
Institute of Cardiovascular Research, Xinqiao Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, 400037, China. doctorzhaoxiaohui@yahoo.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) differentiation is considered crucial for vascular repair. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) induces EPC differentiation, but the underlying mechanism of this phenomenon remains unclear. Connexin 43 (Cx43) is reported to be involved in the regulation of stem cell differentiation. Therefore, we sought to determine whether Cx43 is involved in VEGF-induced EPC differentiation and vascular repair.

METHODS:

Rat spleen-derived EPCs were cultured and treated with various concentrations of VEGF (0, 10, or 50 ng/mL), and the relationship between EPC differentiation and Cx43 expression was evaluated. Thereafter, fluorescence redistribution after photobleaching was performed to assess the relationship between adjacent EPC differentiation and Cx43-induced gap junction intercellular communication (GJIC). After carotid artery injury, EPCs pretreated with VEGF were injected into the tail veins, and the effects of Cx43 on vascular repair were evaluated.

RESULTS:

EPCs cultured with VEGF exhibited accelerated differentiation and increased expression of Cx43. However, inhibition of Cx43 expression using short interfering RNA (siRNA) attenuated EPC GJIC and consequent EPC differentiation. VEGF-pretreated EPC transplantation promoted EPC homing and reendothelialization, and inhibited neointimal formation. These effects were attenuated by siRNA inhibition of Cx43.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our results from in vivo and in vitro experiments indicated that VEGF promotes EPC differentiation and vascular repair through Cx43.

KEYWORDS:

Connexin 43; Differentiation; Endothelial progenitor cell; Vascular endothelial growth factor; Vascular repair

PMID:
29065929
PMCID:
PMC5655878
DOI:
10.1186/s13287-017-0684-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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