[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rescuing adverse myocardial remodeling is an unmet clinical goal and, correspondingly, pharmacological means for its intended reversal are urgently needed.
To harness a newly-developed experimental model recapitulating progressive heart failure development for the discovery of new drugs capable of reversing adverse remodeling.
A VEGF-based conditional transgenic system was employed in which an induced perfusion deficit and a resultant compromised cardiac function lead to progressive remodeling and eventually heart failure. Ability of candidate drugs administered at sequential remodeling stages to reverse hypertrophy, enlarged LV size and improve cardiac function was monitored. Arguing for clinical relevance of the experimental system, clinically-used drugs operating on the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone-System (RAAS), namely, the ACE inhibitor Enalapril and the direct renin inhibitor Aliskerin fully reversed remodeling. Remodeling reversal by these drugs was not accompanied by neovascularization and reached a point-of-no-return. Similarly, the PPARγ agonist Pioglitazone was proven capable of reversing all aspects of cardiac remodeling without affecting the vasculature. Extending the arsenal of remodeling-reversing drugs to pathways other than RAAS, a specific inhibitor of 11β-hydroxy-steroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β HSD1), a key enzyme required for generating active glucocorticoids, fully rescued myocardial hypertrophy. This was associated with mitigating the hypertrophy-associated gene signature, including reversing the myosin heavy chain isoform switch but in a pattern distinguishable from that associated with neovascularization-induced reversal.
A system was developed suitable for identifying novel remodeling-reversing drugs operating in different pathways and for gaining insights into their mechanisms of action, exemplified here by uncoupling their vascular affects.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(3):e92869. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adult neovascularization relies on the recruitment of monocytes to the target organ or tumor and functioning therein as a paracrine accessory. The exact origins of the recruited monocytes and the mechanisms underlying their plasticity remain unclear. Using a VEGF-based transgenic system in which genetically tagged monocytes are conditionally summoned to the liver as part of a VEGF-initiated angiogenic program, we show that these recruited cells are derived from the abundant pool of circulating Ly6C(hi) monocytes. Remarkably, however, upon arrival at the VEGF-induced organ, but not the naive organ, monocytes undergo multiple phenotypic and functional changes, endowing them with enhanced proangiogenic capabilities and, importantly, with a markedly increased capacity to remodel existing small vessels into larger conduits. Notably, monocytes do not differentiate into long-lived macrophages, but rather appear as transient accessory cells. Results from transfers of presorted subpopulations and a novel tandem transfer strategy ruled out selective recruitment of a dedicated preexisting subpopulation or onsite selection, thereby reinforcing active reprogramming as the underlying mechanism for improved performance. Collectively, this study uncovered a novel function of VEGF, namely, on-site education of recruited "standard" monocytes to become angiogenic and arteriogenic professional cells, a finding that may also lend itself for a better design of angiogenic therapies.
Journal of Experimental Medicine 10/2013; · 13.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been recognised by loss-of-function experiments as a pleiotropic factor with importance in embryonic pancreas development and postnatal beta cell function. Chronic, non-conditional overexpression of VEGF-A has a deleterious effect on beta cell development and function. We report, for the first time, a conditional gain-of-function study to evaluate the effect of transient VEGF-A overexpression by adult pancreatic beta cells on islet vasculature and beta cell proliferation and survival, under both normal physiological and injury conditions.
In a transgenic mouse strain, overexpressing VEGF-A in a doxycycline-inducible and beta cell-specific manner, we evaluated the ability of VEGF-A to affect islet vessel density, beta cell proliferation and protection of the adult beta cell mass from toxin-induced injury.
Short-term VEGF-A overexpression resulted in islet hypervascularisation, increased beta cell proliferation and protection from toxin-mediated beta cell death, and thereby prevented the development of hyperglycaemia. Extended overexpression of VEGF-A led to impaired glucose tolerance, elevated fasting glycaemia and a decreased beta cell mass.
Overexpression of VEGF-A in beta cells time-dependently affects glycometabolic control and beta cell protection and proliferation. These data nourish further studies to examine the role of controlled VEGF delivery in (pre)clinical applications aimed at protecting and/or restoring the injured beta cell mass.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is generally accepted that vascularization and oxygenation of pancreatic islets are essential for the maintenance of an optimal beta cell mass and function and that signaling by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is crucial for pancreas development, insulin gene expression/secretion and (compensatory) beta cell proliferation. A novel mouse model was designed to allow conditional production of human sFlt1 by beta cells in order to trap VEGF and study the effect of time-dependent inhibition of VEGF signaling on adult beta cell fate and metabolism. Secretion of sFlt1 by adult beta cells resulted in a rapid regression of blood vessels and hypoxia within the islets. Besides blunted insulin release, beta cells displayed a remarkable capacity of coping with these presumed unfavorable conditions: even after prolonged periods of blood vessel ablation, basal and stimulated blood glucose levels were only slightly increased while beta cell proliferation and mass remained unaffected. Moreover, ablation of blood vessels did not prevent beta cell generation following severe pancreas injury by partial pancreatic duct ligation or partial pancreatectomy. Our data thus argue against a major role of blood vessels to preserve adult beta cell generation and function, restricting their importance to facilitating rapid and adequate insulin delivery.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Temporomandibular joint condylar hyperplasia (CH) is a pathological condition encountered in young and adult individuals, characterized by unilateral overgrowth of the condyle, ramus and mandible. As CH creates significant functional and esthetic jaw and face deformities, therapeutic principles include growth site elimination by high condylectomy followed by bimaxillary orthognatic surgery. CH etiology is unclear and interestingly, similar pathology has not been reported in any other joint. During condyle physiological development, the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) produced by hypertrophic chondrocytes plays a critical role in the endochondral ossification process. However VEGF is undetectable in adult cartilage. We hypothesize that abnormal VEGF expression accounts for condylar hyperplasia.
Objective: , To evaluate the role of VEGF in the pathology of CH by a combined clinical and basic research approach, including examination of VEGF expression in CH human specimens and development of a mouse model mimicking the human pathology.
Methods: , First, 32 cases of CH patients are examined. Specimens obtained after condylectomy are processed for histological analysis and stained for VEGF and different bone and cartilage proteins.
Second, we have developed a mouse model where VEGF is expressed in a temporally and spatially regulated manner in the cartilage of the mouse. Bone growth is monitored in living mice by in-vivo micro-CT scans. Condyles are processed for standard proteins and mRNA analysis.
Results: , Human specimen exhibit atypical VEGF expression in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) restricted to the pathological area of the cartilage, correlating with MSCs hyperplasia and appositional cartilage growth.
Postnatal induction of VEGF in the mouse, induces MSCs hyperplasia and reactivates the process of endochondral ossification and subsequent bone growth of the mandible. Importantly, cessation of VEGF expression induces the complete reversal of the phenotype in the mouse mandible.
Conclusions: , our results show that VEGF can initiate condylar hyperplasia and suggests alternative therapeutic avenues.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vascular endothelial growth factor-A (abbreviated throughout this review as VEGF) is mostly known for its angiogenic activity, for its activity as a vascular permeability factor, and for its vascular survival activity . There is a growing body of evidence, however, that VEGF fulfills additional less 'traditional' functions in multiple organs, both during development, as well as homeostatic functions in fully developed organs. This review focuses on the multiple roles of VEGF in the adult brain and is less concerned with the roles played by VEGF during brain development, functions described elsewhere in this review series. Most functions of VEGF that are essential for proper brain development are, in fact, dispensable in the adult brain as was clearly demonstrated using a conditional brain-specific VEGF loss-of-function (LOF) approach. Thus, in contrast to VEGF LOF in the developing brain, a process which is detrimental for the growth and survival of blood vessels and leads to massive neuronal apoptosis [2-4], continued signaling by VEGF in the mature brain is no longer required for maintaining already established cerebral vasculature and its inhibition does not cause appreciable vessel regression, hypoxia or apoptosis [4-7]. Yet, VEGF continues to be expressed in the adult brain in a constitutive manner. Moreover, VEGF is expressed in the adult brain in a region-specific manner and in distinctive spatial patterns incompatible with an angiogenic role (see below), strongly suggesting angiogenesis-independent and possibly also perfusion-independent functions. Here we review current knowledge on some of these 'non-traditional', often unexpected homeostatic VEGF functions, including those unrelated to its effects on the brain vasculature. These effects could be mediated directly (on non-vascular cells expressing cognate VEGF receptors) or indirectly (via the endothelium). Experimental approaches aimed at distinguishing between these possibilities for each particular VEGF function will be described. This review is only concerned with homeostatic functions of VEGF in the normal, non-injured brain. The reader is referred elsewhere in this series for a review on VEGF actions in response to various forms of brain injury and/or brain pathology.
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 03/2013; · 5.62 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proangiogenic therapy is a promising avenue for the treatment for chronic heart failure and a potentially powerful modality for reversing adverse cardiac remodeling. There is a concern, however, that adverse remodeling might enter an irreversible stage, and become refractory to treatments. The present study aims to determine whether neovascularization therapy is feasible at end stage heart failure and its capacity to reverse adverse cardiac remodeling during progressive disease stages.
Using a conditional transgenic mouse system for generating escalating levels of myocardium-specific vascular deficit and resultant stepwise development of heart remodeling, we show that left ventricular dilatation and fibrosis precede ventricular hypertrophy, but that interstitial fibrosis is progressive and eventually results in heart failure. Vascular endothelial growth factor-mediated neovascularization was efficient even at the end stage of disease, and rescued compromised contractile function. Remarkably, remodeling was also fully reversed by neovascularization during early and late stages. Adverse remodeling could not be rescued, however, at the end stage of the disease, thus defining a point of no return and indentifying a critical level of fibrosis as the key determinant to be considered in intended reversal.
The study supports the notion of a restricted golden time for remodeling reversal but not for vascular endothelial growth factor-induced neovascularization, which is feasible even during advanced disease stages.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is the angiogenic factor promoting and orchestrating most, if not all, processes of neovascularization taking place in the embryo and the adult. VEGF is also required to sustain newly formed vessels and plays additional multiple roles in the maintenance and function of certain mature vascular beds. Correspondingly, perturbations in VEGF signaling may impact organ homeostasis in multiple ways. Here we briefly review potential consequences of VEGF loss of function in adult organs. Different vascular beds display highly variable dependencies on VEGF for survival, and its loss of function may trigger the regression of many VEGF-dependent vasculatures. Normal turnover of blood vessels, in conjunction with the fact that VEGF is indispensable for compensatory angiogenesis to restore adequate perfusion, accounts for progressive vascular rarefaction under conditions of chronic VEGF inhibition of even vasculatures that are not intrinsically dependent on VEGF. Because blood vessels may have paracrine functions other than their traditional role in tissue perfusion, vascular regression resulting from VEGF withdrawal may cause substantial collateral tissue damage. VEGF may also impact tissue homeostasis via acting directly on nonvascular cells expressing cognate receptors. In the particular case of the lung, constitutive abundant expression of VEGF together with the fact that its receptors are distributed on both endothelial and epithelial cells is compatible with multiple homeostatic VEGF functions in the adult lung. Indeed, experimental inhibition of VEGF in the mature lung produces lesions resembling common lung pathologies, including emphysema and respiratory distress syndrome.
Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society 11/2011; 8(6):508-11.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: How organ size and form are controlled during development is a major question in biology. Blood vessels have been shown to be essential for early development of the liver and pancreas, and are fundamental to normal and pathological tissue growth. Here, we report that, surprisingly, non-nutritional signals from blood vessels act to restrain pancreas growth. Elimination of endothelial cells increases the size of embryonic pancreatic buds. Conversely, VEGF-induced hypervascularization decreases pancreas size. The growth phenotype results from vascular restriction of pancreatic tip cell formation, lateral branching and differentiation of the pancreatic epithelium into endocrine and acinar cells. The effects are seen both in vivo and ex vivo, indicating a perfusion-independent mechanism. Thus, the vasculature controls pancreas morphogenesis and growth by reducing branching and differentiation of primitive epithelial cells.
Development 09/2011; 138(21):4743-52. · 6.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The concept of vascular pruning, the "cuting-off" of vessels, is gaining importance due to expansion of angio-modulating therapies. The proangiogenic effects of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are broadly described, but the mechanisms of structural alterations by its downregulation are not known.
VEGF(165)-releasing hydrogels were applied onto the chick chorioallantoic membrane on embryonic day 10. The hydrogels, designed to completely degrade within 2 days, caused high-level VEGF presentation followed by abrupt VEGF withdrawal. Application of VEGF resulted in a pronounced angiogenic response within 24 hours. The drastic decrease in level of exogenous VEGF-A within 48 hours was corroborated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Following this VEGF withdrawal we observed vasculature adaptation by means of intussusception, including intussusceptive vascular pruning. As revealed on vascular casts and serial semithin sections, intussusceptive vascular pruning occurred by emergence of multiple eccentric pillars at bifurcations. Time-lapse in vivo microscopy has confirmed the de novo occurrence of transluminal pillars and their capability to induce pruning. Quantitative evaluation corroborated an extensive activation of intussusception associated with VEGF withdrawal.
Diminution of VEGF level induces vascular tree regression by intussusceptive vascular pruning. This observation may allude to the mechanism underlying the "normalization" of tumor vasculature if treated with antiangiogenic drugs. The mechanism described here gives new insights into the understanding of the processes of vasculature regression and hence provides new and potentially viable targets for antiangiogenic and/or angio-modulating therapies during various pathological processes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Blood vessels have been shown to play perfusion-independent roles in organogenesis. Here, we examined whether blood vessels determine branching stereotypy of the mouse lung airways in which coordinated branching of epithelial and vascular tubes culminates in their co-alignment. Using different ablative strategies to eliminate the lung vasculature, both in vivo and in lung explants, we show that proximity to the vasculature is indeed essential for patterning airway branching. Remarkably, although epithelial branching per se proceeded at a nearly normal rate, branching stereotypy was dramatically perturbed following vascular ablation. Specifically, branching events requiring a rotation to change the branching plane were selectively affected. This was evidenced by either the complete absence or the shallow angle of their projections, with both events contributing to an overall flat lung morphology. Vascular ablation also led to a high frequency of ectopic branching. Regain of vascularization fully rescued arrested airway branching and restored normal lung size and its three-dimensional architecture. This role of the vasculature is independent of perfusion, flow or blood-borne substances. Inhibition of normal branching resulting from vascular loss could be explained in part by perturbing the unique spatial expression pattern of the key branching mediator FGF10 and by misregulated expression of the branching regulators Shh and sprouty2. Together, these findings uncovered a novel role of the vasculature in organogenesis, namely, determining stereotypy of epithelial branching morphogenesis.
Development 06/2011; 138(11):2359-68. · 6.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) decoy receptor soluble VEGF-R1 (sVEGF-R1) is thought to protect the cells that produce it from adverse VEGF signaling. To accomplish this role, a mechanism for pericellular retention of sVEGF-R1 is required. Local retention may also prevent the accumulation of high circulating levels of sVEGF-R1 and resulting interference with homeostatic VEGF functions in remote organs.
To reveal natural storage depots of sVEGF-R1 and determine mechanisms underlying its pericellular retention. To uncover natural mechanisms regulating its systemic release.
We show that both the canonical and human-specific isoforms of sVEGF-R1 are strongly bound to heparin. sVEGF-R1 produced by vascular smooth muscle cells is stored in the vessel wall and can be displaced from isolated mouse aorta by heparin. Another major reservoir of sVEGF-R1 is the placenta. Heparin increases the level of sVEGF-R1 released by cultured human placental villi, and pregnant women treated with low molecular weight heparin showed markedly elevated levels of sVEGF-R1 in the circulation. Heparanase is expressed in human placenta at the same locales as sVEGF-R1, and its transgenic overexpression in mice resulted in a marked increase in the levels of circulating sVEGF-R1. Conversely, heparanase inhibition, by either a neutralizing antibody or by inhibition of its maturation, reduced the amounts of sVEGF-R1 released from human placental villi, indicating a natural role of heparanase in sVEGF-R1 release.
Together, the findings uncover a new level of regulation governing sVEGF-R1 retention versus release and suggest that manipulations of the heparin/heparanase system could be harnessed for reducing unwarranted release of sVEGF-R1 in pathologies such as preeclampsia.
Circulation Research 03/2011; 108(9):1063-70. · 11.86 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurons, astrocytes, and blood vessels are organized in functional "neurovascular units" in which the vasculature can impact neuronal activity and, in turn, dynamically adjust to its change. Here we explored different mechanisms by which VEGF, a pleiotropic factor known to possess multiple activities vis-à-vis blood vessels and neurons, may affect adult neurogenesis and cognition. Conditional transgenic systems were used to reversibly overexpress VEGF or block endogenous VEGF in the hippocampus of adult mice. Importantly, this was done in settings that allowed the uncoupling of VEGF-promoted angiogenesis, neurogenesis, and memory. VEGF overexpression was found to augment all three processes, whereas VEGF blockade impaired memory without reducing hippocampal perfusion or neurogenesis. Pertinent to the general debate regarding the relative contribution of adult neurogenesis to memory, we found that memory gain by VEGF overexpression and memory impairment by VEGF blockade were already evident at early time points at which newly added neurons could not yet have become functional. Surprisingly, VEGF induction markedly increased in vivo long-term potentiation (LTP) responses in the dentate gyrus, and VEGF blockade completely abrogated LTP. Switching off ectopic VEGF production resulted in a return to a normal memory and LTP, indicating that ongoing VEGF is required to maintain increased plasticity. In summary, the study not only uncovered a surprising role for VEGF in neuronal plasticity, but also suggests that improved memory by VEGF is primarily a result of increasing plasticity of mature neurons rather than the contribution of newly added hippocampal neurons.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2011; 108(12):5081-6. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A transgenic mouse model for conditional induction of long-term hibernation via myocardium-specific expression of a VEGF-sequestering soluble receptor allowed the dissection of the hibernation process into an initiation and a maintenance phase. The hypoxic initiation phase was characterized by peak levels of K(ATP) channel and glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1) expression. Glibenclamide, an inhibitor of K(ATP) channels, blocked GLUT1 induction. In the maintenance phase, tissue hypoxia and GLUT1 expression were reduced. Thus, we employed a combined "-omics" approach to resolve this cardioprotective adaptation process. Unguided bioinformatics analysis on the transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic datasets confirmed that anaerobic glycolysis was affected and that the observed enzymatic changes in cardiac metabolism were directly linked to hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1 activation. Although metabolite concentrations were kept relatively constant, the combination of the proteomic and transcriptomic dataset improved the statistical confidence of the pathway analysis by 2 orders of magnitude. Importantly, proteomics revealed a reduced phosphorylation state of myosin light chain 2 and cardiac troponin I within the contractile apparatus of hibernating hearts in the absence of changes in protein abundance. Our study demonstrates how combining different "-omics" datasets aids in the identification of key biological pathways: chronic hypoxia resulted in a pronounced adaptive response at the transcript and the protein level to keep metabolite levels steady. This preservation of metabolic homeostasis is likely to contribute to the long-term survival of the hibernating myocardium.
Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology 02/2011; 50(6):982-90. · 5.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Portal hypertension (PH) is a common complication and a leading cause of death in patients with chronic liver diseases. PH is underlined by structural and functional derangement of liver sinusoid vessels and its fenestrated endothelium. Because in most clinical settings PH is accompanied by parenchymal injury, it has been difficult to determine the precise role of microvascular perturbations in causing PH. Reasoning that Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) is required to maintain functional integrity of the hepatic microcirculation, we developed a transgenic mouse system for a liver-specific-, reversible VEGF inhibition. The system is based on conditional induction and de-induction of a VEGF decoy receptor that sequesters VEGF and preclude signaling. VEGF blockade results in sinusoidal endothelial cells (SECs) fenestrations closure and in accumulation and transformation of the normally quiescent hepatic stellate cells, i.e. provoking the two processes underlying sinusoidal capillarization. Importantly, sinusoidal capillarization was sufficient to cause PH and its typical sequela, ascites, splenomegaly and venous collateralization without inflicting parenchymal damage or fibrosis. Remarkably, these dramatic phenotypes were fully reversed within few days from lifting-off VEGF blockade and resultant re-opening of SECs' fenestrations. This study not only uncovered an indispensible role for VEGF in maintaining structure and function of mature SECs, but also highlights the vasculo-centric nature of PH pathogenesis. Unprecedented ability to rescue PH and its secondary manifestations via manipulating a single vascular factor may also be harnessed for examining the potential utility of de-capillarization treatment modalities.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(7):e21478. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rationale We have recently established a transgenic mouse model for conditional induction of long-term hibernation via myocardium-specific induction of a VEGF-sequestering soluble receptor. Objective Using a combined '-omics' approach, we aim to resolve the cardioprotective response that preserves myocardial viability under chronic hypoxia by integrating mRNA, protein and metabolite changes in unsupervised network analysis. Methods and results A genome array, difference in gel electrophoresis and proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy were employed to dissect the hibernation process into an initiation and a maintenance phase. The initiation phase was characterised by peak levels of K(ATP) channel and glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1) expression. Glibenclamide, an inhibitor of K(ATP) channels, blocked GLUT1 induction. In the maintenance phase, tissue hypoxia and GLUT1 expression were reduced and metabolite concentrations were kept relatively constant. Unguided bioinformatics analysis on the combined datasets confirmed that anaerobic glycolysis was affected and that the observed enzymatic changes in cardiac metabolism were directly linked to hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1 activation. Notably, the combination of the proteomic and transcriptomic datasets improved the statistical confidence of the pathway analysis by two orders of magnitude, with HIF-hypoxia-Akt signalling and glycolysis being the most significant. Conclusions We demonstrate how combining different '-omics' datasets aids in the identification of key biological pathways: chronic hypoxia resulted in a pronounced adaptive response at the transcript and the protein level to keep metabolite levels steady. This preservation of metabolic homoeostasis is likely to contribute to the long-term survival of the hibernating myocardium.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The angiogenic factor vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF) has been shown to have a role in neurogenesis, but how it affects adult neurogenesis is not fully understood. To delineate a role for VEGF in successive stages of olfactory bulb (OB) neurogenesis, we used a conditional transgenic system to suppress VEGF signaling at the adult mouse sub-ventricular zone (SVZ), rostral migratory stream (RMS) and OB, which constitute the respective sites of birth, the migration route, and sites where newly born interneurons mature and integrate within the existing OB circuitry. Following the development of fluorescently tagged adult-born neurons, we show that sequestration of VEGF that is constitutively expressed by distinct types of resident OB neurons greatly impaired dendrite development in incoming SVZ-born neurons. This was evidenced by reduced dendritic spine density of granule cells and significantly shorter and less branched dendrites in periglomerular neurons. Notably, the vasculature and perfusion of the SVZ, RMS and OB were not adversely affected when VEGF suppression was delayed until after birth, thus uncoupling the effect of VEGF on dendritogenesis from its known role in vascular maintenance. Furthermore, a requirement for VEGF was specific to newly born neurons, as already established OB neurons were not damaged by VEGF inhibition. This study thus uncovered a surprising perfusion-independent role of VEGF in the adult brain, namely, an essential role in the maturation of adult-born neurons.
Development 01/2010; 137(2):261-71. · 6.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Implantation is a key stage during pregnancy, as the fate of the embryo is often decided upon its first contact with the maternal endometrium. Around this time, DCs accumulate in the uterus; however, their role in pregnancy and, more specifically, implantation, remains unknown. We investigated the function of uterine DCs (uDCs) during implantation using a transgenic mouse model that allows conditional ablation of uDCs in a spatially and temporally regulated manner. Depletion of uDCs resulted in a severe impairment of the implantation process, leading to embryo resorption. Depletion of uDCs also caused embryo resorption in syngeneic and T cell-deficient pregnancies, which argues against a failure to establish immunological tolerance during implantation. Moreover, even in the absence of embryos, experimentally induced deciduae failed to adequately form. Implantation failure was associated with impaired decidual proliferation and differentiation. Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI revealed perturbed angiogenesis characterized by reduced vascular expansion and attenuated maturation. We suggest therefore that uDCs directly fine-tune decidual angiogenesis by providing two critical factors, sFlt1 and TGF-beta1, that promote coordinated blood vessel maturation. Collectively, uDCs appear to govern uterine receptivity, independent of their predicted role in immunological tolerance, by regulating tissue remodeling and angiogenesis. Importantly, our results may aid in understanding the limited implantation success of embryos transferred following in vitro fertilization.
Journal of Clinical Investigation 01/2009; 118(12):3954-65. · 12.81 Impact Factor