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ABSTRACT: The endogenous proangiogenic properties of adipose tissue are well recognized. Although the adult human thymus has long been known to degenerate into fat tissue, it has never been considered as a potential source of angiogenic factors. We have investigated the expression of diverse angiogenic factors, including vascular endothelial growth factor A and B, angiopoietin 1, and tyrosine-protein kinase receptor-2 (an angiopoietin receptor), and then analyzed their physiological role on endothelial cell migration and proliferation, two relevant events in angiogenesis. The detection of the gene and protein expression of the various proteins has been performed by immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. We show, for the first time, that adult thymus fat produces a variety of angiogenic factors and induces the proliferation and migration of human umbilical cord endothelial cells. Based on these findings, we suggest that this fat has a potential angiogenic function that might affect thymic function and ongoing adipogenesis within the thymus.
Cell and Tissue Research 09/2009; 338(2):313-8. · 3.68 Impact Factor