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Am J Physiol. 1999 Feb;276(2 Pt 2):H535-42.

Role of phospholipase C, protein kinase C, and calcium in VEGF-induced venular hyperpermeability.

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Departments of Medical Physiology and Surgery, Texas A & M University System Health Science Center, Temple, Texas 76504, USA.


We previously demonstrated that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-elicited increase in the permeability of coronary venules was blocked by the nitric oxide (NO) synthase inhibitor NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA). The aim of this study was to delineate in more detail the signaling pathways upstream from NO production in VEGF-induced venular hyperpermeability. The apparent permeability coefficient of albumin (Pa) and endothelial cytosolic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) were measured in intact perfused porcine coronary venules using fluorescence microscopy. VEGF (10(-10) M) induced a two- to threefold increase in Pa, which was blocked by a monoclonal antibody directed against the VEGF receptor Flk-1/KDR, the phospholipase C (PLC) antagonist U-73122, or the protein kinase C (PKC) antagonist bisindolylmaleimide (BIM). In 12 venules that displayed the [Ca2+]i response to bradykinin (10(-6) M) and ionomycin (10(-6) M), only 4 vessels responded to VEGF with a transient increase in [Ca2+]i. Furthermore, Western blot analysis of cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells showed that VEGF increased tyrosine phosphorylation of PLC-gamma and serine phosphorylation of endothelial constitutive NO synthase (ecNOS). The hyperphosphorylation of PLC-gamma was greatly attenuated by the KDR receptor antibody and U-73122, but not by BIM or L-NMMA. In contrast, U-73122 and BIM were able to inhibit VEGF-elicited serine phosphorylation of ecNOS. The results suggest that VEGF induces venular hyperpermeability through a KDR receptor-mediated activation of PLC. In turn, ecNOS is activated by PLC-mediated PKC and/or cytosolic Ca2+ elevation stimulation.

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