[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: In-situ hybridisation studies demonstrate that Notch receptors and ligands are expressed in granulosa cells (GCs) and in the theca layer vasculature of growing follicles. Notch signaling involves cell-to-cell interaction mediated by transmembrane receptors and ligands. This signaling pathway may represent a novel intraovarian regulator of gonadotropin-dependent follicular development to the preovulatory stage. We hypothesized that blocking Notch pathways would disrupt follicular maturation in the mouse ovary. METHODS: Hypophysectomized CD21 female mice were administered pregnant mare serum gonadotropin (PMSG) for 3 days to stimulate follicular development. In one experiment, a pan-notch inhibitor, compound E, was initiated 2 days prior to and throughout stimulation (n = 10), while in a second experiment, a humanized phage Dll4 blocking antibody, YW152F, was used (n = 5). After sacrifice, ovarian histology, serum estradiol levels and uterine weights were compared to controls. The ovarian morphology was evaluated with hematoxylin/eosin staining and immunohistochemistry was performed for Notch1, Notch2, Notch3, Notch4, Jagged1, Dll4, platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM) and alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) detection. RESULTS: We localized specific Notch ligands and receptors in the following structures: Dll4 is specific to theca layer endothelial cells (ECs); Notch1/Notch4 and Jagged1 are expressed in theca layer ECs and vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), whereas Notch3 is restricted to VSMCs; Notch2 is expressed mostly on GCs of small follicles. Administration of a pan-Notch inhibitor, compound E, inhibits follicular development to the preovulatory stage (8.5 preovulatory follicles in treatment vs. 3.4 preovulatory follicles in control, p < 0.01; average number per ovary) with significant secondary effects on ovarian and uterine weight and estradiol secretion in a setting of uninhibited vascular proliferation, but disorganized appearance of ECs and VSMCs. Inhibition of endothelial Notch1 function through the inactivation of its ligand Dll4 with the blocking antibody YW152F induces mild disorganisation of follicular vasculature, but has no significant effect on gonadotropin-dependent folliculogenesis. CONCLUSIONS: Our experiments suggest that the complete blockage of the Notch signaling pathway with compound E impairs folliculogenesis and induces disruption of gonadotropin stimulated angiogenesis. It seems the mechanism involves Notch1 and Notch3, specifically, causing the improper assembly of ECs and VSMCs in the theca layer, although the potential role of non-angiogenic Notch signaling, such as Jagged2 to Notch2 in GCs, remains to be elucidated.
Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 05/2013; 11(1):43. · 2.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anthrax Toxin Receptor proteins function as receptors for anthrax toxin, however physiological activity remains unclear. To evaluate the biological role of Antxr2, we generated Antxr2-/- mice. Antxr2-/- mice were viable, however Antxr2 is required for parturition in young females and for preserving fertility in older female mice. Histological analysis of the uterus and cervix revealed aberrant deposition of extracellular matrix proteins such as type I collagen, type VI collagen and fibronectin. A marked disruption of both the circular and longitudinal myometrial cell layers was evident in Antxr2-/- mice. These changes progressed as the mice aged, resulting in a thickened, collagen dense, acellular stroma and the disappearance of normal uterine architecture. To investigate the molecular mechanism underlying the uterine fibrosis we performed immunoblotting for MMP2 using uterine lysates and zymography using conditioned medium from Antxr2-/- mouse embryonic fibroblasts and found reduced levels of activated MMP2 in both. This prompted us to investigate MT1-MMP status, as MMP2 processing is regulated by MT1-MMP. We found MT1-MMP activity, as measured by MMP2 processing and activation, was enhanced by expression of either ANTXR1 or ANTXR2. We identified an ANTXR2/MT1-MMP complex and demonstrated that MT1-MMP activity is dependent on ANTXR2 expression levels in cells. Thus, we have discovered that ANTXR1 and ANTXR2 function as positive regulators of MT1-MMP activity.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e34862. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated whether Notch signaling plays a role in regulating macrophage responses to inflammation. In a wound healing assay, macrophage recruitment was decreased in Notch1(+/-) mice, and the wounds were characterized by decreased TNF-α expression. As wound healing progressed, Notch1(+/-) wounds had increased vascularization and collagen deposition compared with wild-type wounds. In mice with myeloid-specific Notch1 deletion, wounds had decreased macrophage recruitment as well as decreased TNF-α expression, indicating the specific role of Notch1 in the inflammatory response in these cells. In vitro, we found that vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1 (VEGFR-1) was upregulated in macrophages in response to LPS/IFN-γ and that this upregulation depended on Notch signaling. Furthermore, macrophages from Notch1(+/-) mice had decreased expression of VEGFR-1 compared with macrophages from wild-type mice, whereas VEGFR-1 expression in Notch4(-/-) macrophages was normal. Inhibition of Notch signaling decreased induction of the inflammatory cytokines IL-6, IL-12, CXCL10, MCP-1, monokine induced by IFN-γ, and TNF-α in macrophages in response to LPS/IFN-γ. Additionally, macrophages from Notch1(+/-) mice demonstrated decreased induction of IL-6, IL-12, and TNF-α in response to stimulation compared with wild-type mice. Thus, both pharmacological inhibition of Notch and genetic analysis demonstrate that Notch1 regulates VEGFR-1 and cytokine expression in macrophages. We have also established that Notch1 is important for the inflammatory response during wound healing in mice.
The Journal of Immunology 10/2010; 185(7):4363-73. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Notch signaling is required for vascular development and tumor angiogenesis. Although inhibition of the Notch ligand Delta-like 4 can restrict tumor growth and disrupt neovasculature, the effect of inhibiting Notch receptor function on angiogenesis has yet to be defined. In this study, we generated a soluble form of the Notch1 receptor (Notch1 decoy) and assessed its effect on angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Notch1 decoy expression reduced signaling stimulated by the binding of three distinct Notch ligands to Notch1 and inhibited morphogenesis of endothelial cells overexpressing Notch4. Thus, Notch1 decoy functioned as an antagonist of ligand-dependent Notch signaling. In mice, Notch1 decoy also inhibited vascular endothelial growth factor-induced angiogenesis in skin, establishing a role for Notch receptor function in this process. We tested the effects of Notch1 decoy on tumor angiogenesis using two models: mouse mammary Mm5MT cells overexpressing fibroblast growth factor 4 (Mm5MT-FGF4) and NGP human neuroblastoma cells. Exogenously expressed FGF4 induced Notch ligand expression in Mm5MT cells and xenografts. Notch1 decoy expression did not affect tumorigenicity of Mm5MT-FGF4 cells in vitro but restricted Mm5MT-FGF4 xenograft growth in mice while markedly impairing neoangiogenesis. Similarly, Notch1 decoy expression did not affect NGP cells in vitro but disrupted vessels and decreased tumor viability in vivo. These results strongly suggest that Notch receptor signaling is required for tumor neoangiogenesis and provides a new target for tumor therapy.
Cancer Research 07/2008; 68(12):4727-35. · 8.65 Impact Factor