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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Dec 9;94(25):13612-7.

Angiogenesis promoted by vascular endothelial growth factor: regulation through alpha1beta1 and alpha2beta1 integrins.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), also known as vascular permeability factor, is a cytokine of central importance for the angiogenesis associated with cancers and other pathologies. Because angiogenesis often involves endothelial cell (EC) migration and proliferation within a collagen-rich extracellular matrix, we investigated the possibility that VEGF promotes neovascularization through regulation of collagen receptor expression. VEGF induced a 5- to 7-fold increase in dermal microvascular EC surface protein expression of two collagen receptors-the alpha1beta1 and alpha2beta1 integrins-through induction of mRNAs encoding the alpha1 and alpha2 subunits. In contrast, VEGF did not induce increased expression of the alpha3beta1 integrin, which also has been implicated in collagen binding. Integrin alpha1-blocking and alpha2-blocking antibodies (Ab) each partially inhibited attachment of microvascular EC to collagen I, and alpha1-blocking Ab also inhibited attachment to collagen IV and laminin-1. Induction of alpha1beta1 and alpha2beta1 expression by VEGF promoted cell spreading on collagen I gels which was abolished by a combination of alpha1-blocking and alpha2-blocking Abs. In vivo, a combination of alpha1-blocking and alpha2-blocking Abs markedly inhibited VEGF-driven angiogenesis; average cross-sectional area of individual new blood vessels was reduced 90% and average total new vascular area was reduced 82% without detectable effects on the pre-existing vasculature. These data indicate that induction of alpha1beta1 and alpha2beta1 expression by EC is an important mechanism by which VEGF promotes angiogenesis and that alpha1beta1 and alpha2beta1 antagonists may prove effective in inhibiting VEGF-driven angiogenesis in cancers and other important pathologies.

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