Regulation of the expression balance of angiopoietin-1 and angiopoietin-2 by Shh and FGF-2.
ABSTRACT Sonic hedgehog (Shh) is a typical morphogen to regulate epithelial-mesenchymal interactions during embryonic development. Shh is also an indirect angiogenic agent upregulating other angiogenic factors, including angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1). Recent studies revealed that angiogenesis induced by Shh is characterized by distinct large-diameter vessels with less branching. Ang-1 promotes blood vessel maturation, and angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) counteracts Ang-1 activity and regulates vascular branching. Thus, we hypothesized that Shh-induced angiogenesis is affected by expression of Ang-1 and Ang-2, and we investigated the regulatory system of angiopoietins by Shh in vitro. Shh enhanced Ang-1 expression but did not enhance vascular endothelial growth factor in fibroblasts. The upregulation of Ang-1 expression by Shh was significantly decreased by fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2), a potent angiogenic factor. Furthermore, FGF-2 increased the expression of Ang-2 in endothelial cells. These findings suggest that Shh and FGF-2 regulate the expression balance of vascular morphogens Ang-1 and Ang-2 and are involved in angiogenesis.