Bevacizumab Attenuates VEGF-Induced Angiogenesis and Vascular Malformations in the Adult Mouse Brain
ABSTRACT Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression is elevated in human brain arteriovenous malformations (bAVM). We have developed a bAVM model in the adult mouse by focal Alk1 gene deletion and human VEGF stimulation. We hypothesized that once the abnormal vasculature has been established, tonic VEGF stimulation is necessary to maintain the abnormal phenotype, and VEGF antagonism by bevacizumab (Avastin) would reduce vessel density and attenuate the dysplastic vascular phenotype.
Angiogenesis and bAVM were induced by injection of adeno-associated viral vector expressing human VEGF alone into the brain of wild-type mice or with adenoviral vector expressing Cre recombinase (Ad-Cre) into Alk1(2f/2f) mice. Six weeks later, bevacizumab or trastuzumab (Herceptin, bevacizumab control) was administered. Vessel density, dysplasia index, vascular cell proliferation and apoptosis, and human IgG were assessed (n=6/group).
Compared with trastuzumab (15 mg/kg), administration of 5, 10, and 15 mg/kg of bevacizumab to adeno-associated viral vector expressing human VEGF treated wild-type mice reduced focal vessel density (P<0.05); administration of 5 mg/kg bevacizumab decreased proliferating vascular cells (P=0.04) and increased TUNEL-positive vascular cells (P=0.03). More importantly, bevacizumab (5 mg/kg) treatment reduced both vessel density (P=0.01) and dysplasia index (P=0.02) in our bAVM model. Human IgG was detected in the vessel wall and in the parenchyma in the angiogenic foci of bevacizumab-treated mice.
We provide proof-of-principle that, once abnormal AVM vessels have formed, VEGF antagonism may reduce the number of dysplastic vessels and should be evaluated further as a therapeutic strategy for the human disease.
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ABSTRACT: Defective paracrine Transforming Growth Factor-β (TGF-β) signaling between endothelial cells and the neighboring mural cells have been thought to lead to the development of vascular lesions that are characteristic of Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT). This review highlights recent progress in our understanding of TGF-β signaling in mural cell recruitment and vessel stabilization and how perturbed TGF-β signaling might contribute to defective endothelial-mural cell interaction affecting vessel functionalities. Our recent findings have provided exciting insights into the role of thalidomide, a drug that reduces both the frequency and the duration of epistaxis in individuals with HHT by targeting mural cells. These advances provide opportunities for the development of new therapies for vascular malformations.Frontiers in Genetics 03/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fgene.2015.00037
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ABSTRACT: Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is a genetic disorder characterized by a multi-systemic vascular dysplasia and hemorrhage. The precise factors leading to these vascular malformations are not yet understood and robust animal models of HHT are essential to gain a detailed understanding of the molecular and cellular events that lead to clinical symptoms, as well as to test new therapeutic modalities. Most cases of HHT are caused by mutations in either endoglin (ENG) or activin receptor-like kinase 1 (ACVRL1, also known as ALK1). Both genes are associated with TGFβ/BMP signaling, and loss of function mutations in the co-receptor ENG are causal in HHT1, while HHT2 is associated with mutations in the signaling receptor ACVRL1. Significant advances in mouse genetics have provided powerful ways to study the function of Eng and Acvrl1 in vivo, and to generate mouse models of HHT disease. Mice that are null for either Acvrl1 or Eng genes show embryonic lethality due to major defects in angiogenesis and heart development. However mice that are heterozygous for mutations in either of these genes develop to adulthood with no effect on survival. Although these heterozygous mice exhibit selected vascular phenotypes relevant to the clinical pathology of HHT, the phenotypes are variable and generally quite mild. An alternative approach using conditional knockout mice allows us to study the effects of specific inactivation of either Eng or Acvrl1 at different times in development and in different cell types. These conditional knockout mice provide robust and reproducible models of arteriovenous malformations, and they are currently being used to unravel the causal factors in HHT pathologies. In this review, we will summarize the strengths and limitations of current mouse models of HHT, discuss how knowledge obtained from these studies has already informed clinical care and explore the potential of these models for developing improved treatments for HHT patients in the future.Frontiers in Genetics 02/2015; 6:25. DOI:10.3389/fgene.2015.00025
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ABSTRACT: Cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) entail a significant risk of intracerebral hemorrhage owing to the direct shunting of arterial blood into the venous vasculature without the dissipation of the arterial blood pressure. The mechanisms involved in the growth, progression and rupture of AVMs are not clearly understood, but a number of studies point to inflammation as a major contributor to their pathogenesis. The upregulation of proinflammatory cytokines induces the overexpression of cell adhesion molecules in AVM endothelial cells, resulting in enhanced recruitment of leukocytes. The increased leukocyte-derived release of metalloproteinase-9 is known to damage AVM walls and lead to rupture. Inflammation is also involved in altering the AVM angioarchitecture via the upregulation of angiogenic factors that affect endothelial cell proliferation, migration and apoptosis. The effects of inflammation on AVM pathogenesis are potentiated by certain single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the genes of proinflammatory cytokines, increasing their protein levels in the AVM tissue. Furthermore, studies on metalloproteinase-9 inhibitors and on the involvement of Notch signaling in AVMs provide promising data for a potential basis for pharmacological treatment of AVMs. Potential therapeutic targets and areas requiring further investigation are highlighted.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 19 November 2014; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2014.179.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism 11/2014; 35(2). DOI:10.1038/jcbfm.2014.179 · 5.34 Impact Factor