Shear stress augments the endothelial cell differentiation marker expression in late EPCs by upregulating integrins
Vascular endothelial cell injury has been implicated in the onset of atherosclerosis. A number of previous studies have demonstrated that endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), in particular late EPCs, play important roles in endothelial maintenance and repair. Recent evidence has revealed shear stress as a key regulator for EPC differentiation. However, the detailed events that contribute to the shear stress-induced EPC differentiation, in particular the mechanisms of mechanotransduction, remain to be identified. The present study was undertaken to further confirm the effects of shear stress on the late EPC differentiation, and to investigate the role of integrins in this procedure. Shear stress was observed to increase the expression of endothelial cell differentiation markers, such as vWF and CD31, in late EPCs isolated from rat bone marrow. Shear stress moreover enhanced the mRNA expression of integrin subunits β(1) and β(3) in a time-dependent manner, and also upregulated specific integrins in late EPCs plated on substrates containing various extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. In addition, the shear stress-induced vWF and CD31 expression were found to be related to the levels of integrin β(1) and β(3), and were inhibited in late EPCs treated with RGD peptide (Gly-Arg-Gly-Asp-Asn-Pro, GRGDNP) that blocks the binding of integrins to the extracellular matrix. Additionally, this increase was also attenuated by both anti-β(1) integrin and anti-β(3) integrin antibodies. The integrin subunits β(1) and β(3) thus play important roles in regulating the shear stress-induced endothelial cell differentiation marker expression in late EPCs. This may provide novel insights into the mechanisms of mechanotransduction in shear stress-mediated late EPC differentiation.
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