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Dev Biol. 2008 Jun 1;318(1):172-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.03.023. Epub 2008 Mar 26.

Netrin-1 inhibits sprouting angiogenesis in developing avian embryos.

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Inserm, U833, F-75005 Paris, France; Collège de France, 11, Place Marcelin Berthelot, F-75005 Paris, France.


Netrin-1 is a bifunctional axonal guidance cue, capable of attracting or repelling developing axons via activation of receptors of the deleted in colorectal cancer (DCC) and uncoordinated 5 (UNC5) families, respectively. In addition to its role in axon guidance, Netrin-1 has been implicated in angiogenesis, where it may also act as a bifunctional cue. Attractive effects of Netrin-1 on endothelial cells appear to be mediated by an as yet unknown receptor, while repulsion of developing blood vessels in mouse embryos is mediated by the UNC5B receptor. To explore evolutionary conservation of vascular UNC5B expression and function, we have cloned the chick unc5b homologue. Chick and quail embryos showed unc5b expression in arterial EC and sprouting angiogenic capillaries. To test if Netrin-1 displayed pro- or anti-angiogenic activities in the avian embryo, we grafted cell lines expressing recombinant chick or human Netrin-1 at different stages of development. Netrin-1 expressing cells inhibited angiogenic sprouting of unc5b expressing blood vessels, but had no pro-angiogenic activity at any stage of development examined. Netrin-1 also had no effect on the recruitment of circulating endothelial precursor cells. Taken together, these data indicate that vascular unc5b expression and function is conserved between chick and mice.

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