Jennifer J Hofmann

University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands

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Publications (16)156.36 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Using a multitissue, genome-wide gene expression approach, we recently identified a gene module linked to the extent of human atherosclerosis. This atherosclerosis module was enriched with inherited risk for coronary and carotid artery disease (CAD) and overlapped with genes in the transendothelial migration of leukocyte (TEML) pathway. Among the atherosclerosis module genes, the transcription cofactor Lim domain binding 2 (LDB2) was the most connected in a CAD vascular wall regulatory gene network. Here, we used human genomics and atherosclerosis-prone mice to evaluate the possible role of LDB2 in TEML and atherosclerosis.
    Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 06/2014; · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Host responses to chemotherapy can induce resistance mechanisms that facilitate tumor re-growth. To determine the contribution of bone marrow-derived cells (BMDCs) in this process, we exposed tumor-bearing mice to several chemotherapeutic agents and evaluated the influx and functional contribution of a genetically traceable subpopulation of BMDC (VE-Cad-Cre-EYFP). Treatment of tumor-bearing mice with different chemotherapeutics resulted in a three to ten fold increase in the influx of VE-Cad-Cre-EYFP. This enhanced influx was accompanied by a significant increase in angiogenesis. Expression profile analysis revealed a progressive change in the EYPF population with loss of endothelial markers and increase mononuclear markers. In the tumor at least two specific populations of VE-Cad-Cre-EYFP BMDCs were identified: Gr1(+)/CD11b(+) and Tie2(high)/PECAM(low) cells both located in perivascular areas. A common signature of the EYFP population that exits the bone marrow is an increase in Notch. Inducible inactivation of Notch in the EYFP+ BMDCs impaired homing of these BMDC to the tumor. Importantly, Notch deletion reduced therapy-enhanced angiogenesis and it was associated with increased anti-tumor effect of the chemotherapy. These findings revealed the functional significance of a specific population of supportive BMDCs in response to chemotherapeutics and uncover a new potential strategy to enhance anti-cancer therapy.
    Blood 05/2013; · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Notch signaling pathway is an important contributor to the development and homeostasis of the cardiovascular system. Not surprisingly, mutations in Notch receptors and ligands have been linked to a variety of hereditary diseases that impact both the heart and the vasculature. In particular, mutations in the gene encoding the human Notch ligand jagged 1 result in a multisystem autosomal dominant disorder called Alagille syndrome, which includes tetralogy of Fallot among its more severe cardiac pathologies. Jagged 1 is expressed throughout the developing embryo, particularly in endothelial cells. Here, we demonstrate that endothelial-specific deletion of Jag1 leads to cardiovascular defects in both embryonic and adult mice that are reminiscent of those in Alagille syndrome. Mutant mice display right ventricular hypertrophy, overriding aorta, ventricular septal defects, coronary vessel abnormalities and valve defects. Examination of mid-gestational embryos revealed that the loss of Jag1, similar to the loss of Notch1, disrupts endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition during endocardial cushion formation. Furthermore, adult mutant mice exhibit cardiac valve calcifications associated with abnormal matrix remodeling and induction of bone morphogenesis. This work shows that the endothelium is responsible for the wide spectrum of cardiac phenotypes displayed in Alagille Syndrome and it demonstrates a crucial role for Jag1 in valve morphogenesis.
    Development 10/2012; · 6.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels arise from preexisting ones, is critical for embryonic development and is an integral part of many disease processes. Recent studies have provided detailed information on how angiogenic sprouts initiate, elongate, and branch, but less is known about how these processes cease. Here, we show that S1PR1, a receptor for the blood-borne bioactive lipid sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), is critical for inhibition of angiogenesis and acquisition of vascular stability. Loss of S1PR1 leads to increased endothelial cell sprouting and the formation of ectopic vessel branches. Conversely, S1PR1 signaling inhibits angiogenic sprouting and enhances cell-to-cell adhesion. This correlates with inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A)-induced signaling and stabilization of vascular endothelial (VE)-cadherin localization at endothelial junctions. Our data suggest that S1PR1 signaling acts as a vascular-intrinsic stabilization mechanism, protecting developing blood vessels against aberrant angiogenic responses.
    Developmental Cell 09/2012; 23(3):587-99. · 12.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CCN2/Connective Tissue Growth Factor (CTGF) is a matricellular protein that regulates cell adhesion, migration, and survival. CCN2 is best known for its ability to promote fibrosis by mediating the ability of transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) to induce excess extracellular matrix production. In addition to its role in pathological processes, CCN2 is required for chondrogenesis. CCN2 is also highly expressed during development in endothelial cells, suggesting a role in angiogenesis. The potential role of CCN2 in angiogenesis is unclear, however, as both pro- and anti-angiogenic effects have been reported. Here, through analysis of Ccn2-deficient mice, we show that CCN2 is required for stable association and retention of pericytes by endothelial cells. PDGF signaling and the establishment of the endothelial basement membrane are required for pericytes recruitment and retention. CCN2 induced PDGF-B expression in endothelial cells, and potentiated PDGF-B-mediated Akt signaling in mural (vascular smooth muscle/pericyte) cells. In addition, CCN2 induced the production of endothelial basement membrane components in vitro, and was required for their expression in vivo. Overall, these results highlight CCN2 as an essential mediator of vascular remodeling by regulating endothelial-pericyte interactions. Although most studies of CCN2 function have focused on effects of CCN2 overexpression on the interstitial extracellular matrix, the results presented here show that CCN2 is required for the normal production of vascular basement membranes.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(2):e30562. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vascular development and angiogenesis initially depend on endothelial tip cell invasion, which is followed by a series of maturation steps, including lumen formation and recruitment of perivascular cells. Notch ligands expressed on the endothelium and their cognate receptors expressed on perivascular cells are involved in blood vessel maturation, though little is known regarding the Notch-dependent effectors that facilitate perivascular coverage of nascent vessels. Here, we report that vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) recognition of the Notch ligand Jagged1 on endothelial cells leads to expression of integrin αvβ3 on VSMCs. Once expressed, integrin αvβ3 facilitates VSMC adhesion to VWF in the endothelial basement membrane of developing retinal arteries, leading to vessel maturation. Genetic or pharmacologic disruption of Jagged1, Notch, αvβ3, or VWF suppresses VSMC coverage of nascent vessels and arterial maturation during vascular development. Therefore, we define a Notch-mediated interaction between the developing endothelium and VSMCs leading to adhesion of VSMCs to the endothelial basement membrane and arterial maturation.
    Blood 12/2011; 119(9):2149-58. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the human Notch ligand jagged 1 (JAG1) result in a multi-system disorder called Alagille syndrome (AGS). AGS is chiefly characterized by a paucity of intrahepatic bile ducts (IHBD), but also includes cardiac, ocular, skeletal, craniofacial and renal defects. The disease penetration and severity of the affected organs can vary significantly and the molecular basis for this broad spectrum of pathology is unclear. Here, we report that Jag1 inactivation in the portal vein mesenchyme (PVM), but not in the endothelium of mice, leads to the hepatic defects associated with AGS. Loss of Jag1 expression in SM22α-positive cells of the PVM leads to defective bile duct development beyond the initial formation of the ductal plate. Cytokeratin 19-positive cells are detected surrounding the portal vein, yet they are unable to form biliary tubes, revealing an instructive role of the vasculature in liver development. These findings uncover the cellular basis for the defining feature of AGS, identify mesenchymal Jag1-dependent and -independent stages of duct development, and provide mechanistic information for the role of Jag1 in IHBD formation.
    Development 12/2010; 137(23):4061-72. · 6.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The vitelline artery is a temporary structure that undergoes extensive remodeling during midgestation to eventually become the superior mesenteric artery (also called the cranial mesenteric artery, in the mouse). Here we show that, during this remodeling process, large clusters of hematopoietic progenitors emerge via extravascular budding and form structures that resemble previously described mesenteric blood islands. We demonstrate through fate mapping of vascular endothelium that these mesenteric blood islands are derived from the endothelium of the vitelline artery. We further show that the vitelline arterial endothelium and subsequent blood island structures originate from a lateral plate mesodermal population. Lineage tracing of the lateral plate mesoderm demonstrates contribution to all hemogenic vascular beds in the embryo, and eventually, all hematopoietic cells in the adult. The intraembryonic hematopoietic cell clusters contain viable, proliferative cells that exhibit hematopoietic stem cell markers and are able to further differentiate into myeloid and erythroid lineages. Vitelline artery-derived hematopoietic progenitor clusters appear between embryonic day 10 and embryonic day 10.75 in the caudal half of the midgut mesentery, but by embryonic day 11.0 are sporadically found on the cranial side of the midgut, thus suggesting possible extravascular migration aided by midgut rotation.
    Blood 11/2010; 116(18):3435-44. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Maintenance of single-layered endothelium, squamous endothelial cell shape, and formation of a patent vascular lumen all require defined endothelial cell polarity. Loss of beta1 integrin (Itgb1) in nascent endothelium leads to disruption of arterial endothelial cell polarity and lumen formation. The loss of polarity is manifested as cuboidal-shaped endothelial cells with dysregulated levels and mislocalization of normally polarized cell-cell adhesion molecules, as well as decreased expression of the polarity gene Par3 (pard3). beta1 integrin and Par3 are both localized to the endothelial layer, with preferential expression of Par3 in arterial endothelium. Luminal occlusion is also exclusively noted in arteries, and is partially rescued by replacement of Par3 protein in beta1-deficient vessels. Combined, our findings demonstrate that beta1 integrin functions upstream of Par3 as part of a molecular cascade required for endothelial cell polarity and lumen formation.
    Developmental Cell 01/2010; 18(1):39-51. · 12.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) originate within the aortic-gonado-mesonephros (AGM) region of the midgestation embryo, but the cell type responsible for their emergence is unknown since critical hematopoietic factors are expressed in both the AGM endothelium and its underlying mesenchyme. Here we employ a temporally restricted genetic tracing strategy to selectively label the endothelium, and separately its underlying mesenchyme, during AGM development. Lineage tracing endothelium, via an inducible VE-cadherin Cre line, reveals that the endothelium is capable of HSC emergence. The endothelial progeny migrate to the fetal liver, and later to the bone marrow, and are capable of expansion, self-renewal, and multilineage hematopoietic differentiation. HSC capacity is exclusively endothelial, as ex vivo analyses demonstrate lack of VE-cadherin Cre induction in circulating and fetal liver hematopoietic populations. Moreover, AGM mesenchyme, as selectively traced via a myocardin Cre line, is incapable of hematopoiesis. Our genetic tracing strategy therefore reveals an endothelial origin of HSCs.
    Cell stem cell 01/2009; 3(6):625-36. · 23.56 Impact Factor
  • Jennifer J Hofmann, M Luisa Iruela-Arispe
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    ABSTRACT: It has become increasingly clear that the Notch signaling pathway plays a critical role in the development and homeostasis of the cardiovascular system. This notion has emerged from loss- and gain-of-function analysis and from the realization that several hereditary cardiovascular disorders originate from gene mutations that have a direct impact on Notch signaling. Current research efforts are focused on determining the specific cellular and molecular effects of Notch signaling. The rationale for this has stemmed from the clinical importance and therapeutic potential of modulating vascular formation during various disease states. A more complete appreciation of Notch signaling, as it relates to vascular morphogenesis, requires an in-depth knowledge of expression patterns of the various signaling components and a comprehensive understanding of downstream targets. The goal of this review is to summarize current knowledge regarding Notch signaling during vascular development and within the adult vascular wall. Our focus is on the genetic analysis and cellular experiments that have been performed with Notch ligands, receptors, and downstream targets. We also highlight questions and controversies regarding the contribution of this pathway to vascular development.
    Circulation Research 07/2007; 100(11):1556-68. · 11.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In sprouting angiogenesis, specialized endothelial tip cells lead the outgrowth of blood-vessel sprouts towards gradients of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A. VEGF-A is also essential for the induction of endothelial tip cells, but it is not known how single tip cells are selected to lead each vessel sprout, and how tip-cell numbers are determined. Here we present evidence that delta-like 4 (Dll4)-Notch1 signalling regulates the formation of appropriate numbers of tip cells to control vessel sprouting and branching in the mouse retina. We show that inhibition of Notch signalling using gamma-secretase inhibitors, genetic inactivation of one allele of the endothelial Notch ligand Dll4, or endothelial-specific genetic deletion of Notch1, all promote increased numbers of tip cells. Conversely, activation of Notch by a soluble jagged1 peptide leads to fewer tip cells and vessel branches. Dll4 and reporters of Notch signalling are distributed in a mosaic pattern among endothelial cells of actively sprouting retinal vessels. At this location, Notch1-deleted endothelial cells preferentially assume tip-cell characteristics. Together, our results suggest that Dll4-Notch1 signalling between the endothelial cells within the angiogenic sprout serves to restrict tip-cell formation in response to VEGF, thereby establishing the adequate ratio between tip and stalk cells required for correct sprouting and branching patterns. This model offers an explanation for the dose-dependency and haploinsufficiency of the Dll4 gene, and indicates that modulators of Dll4 or Notch signalling, such as gamma-secretase inhibitors developed for Alzheimer's disease, might find usage as pharmacological regulators of angiogenesis.
    Nature 03/2007; 445(7129):776-80. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    Jennifer J Hofmann, M Luisa Iruela-Arispe
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    ABSTRACT: The critical contribution of the Notch signaling pathway to vascular morphogenesis has been underscored by loss-of-function studies in mouse and zebrafish. Nonetheless, a comprehensive understanding as to how this signaling system influences the formation of blood vessels at the cellular and molecular level is far from reached. Here, we provide a detailed analysis of the distribution of active Notch1 in relation to its DSL (Delta, Serrate, Lag2) ligands, Jagged1, Delta-like1, and Delta-like4, during progressive stages of vascular morphogenesis and maturation. Important differences in the cellular distribution of Notch ligands were found. Jagged1 (Jag1) was detected in "stalk cells" of the leading vasculature and at arterial branch points, a site where Delta-like4 (Dll4) was clearly absent. Dll4 was the only ligand expressed in "tip cells" at the end of the growing vascular sprouts. It was also present in stalk cells, capillaries, arterial endothelium, and in mural cells of mature arteries in a homogenous manner. Delta-like1 (Dll1) was observed in both arteries and veins of the developing network, but was also excluded from mature arterial branch points. These findings support alternative and distinct roles for Notch ligands during the angiogenic process.
    Gene Expression Patterns 03/2007; 7(4):461-70. · 1.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To introduce temporal control in genetic experiments targeting the endothelium, we established a mouse line expressing tamoxifen-inducible Cre-recombinase (Cre-ERT2) under the regulation of the vascular endothelial cadherin promoter (VECad). Specificity and efficiency of Cre activity was documented by crossing VECad-Cre-ERT2 with the ROSA26R reporter mouse, in which a floxed-stop cassette has been placed upstream of the beta-galactosidase gene. We found that tamoxifen specifically induced widespread recombination in the endothelium of embryonic, neonatal, and adult tissues. Recombination was also documented in tumor-associated vascular beds and in postnatal angiogenesis assays. Furthermore, injection of tamoxifen in adult animals resulted in negligible excision (lower than 0.4%) in the hematopoietic lineage. The VECad-Cre-ERT2 mouse is likely to be a valuable tool to study the function of genes involved in vascular development, homeostasis, and in complex processes involving neoangiogenesis, such as tumor growth.
    Developmental Dynamics 01/2007; 235(12):3413-22. · 2.59 Impact Factor
  • Developmental Cell, v.18, 39-51 (2010).
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    Mukesh Jain, Jennifer J. Hofmann, M. Luisa Iruela-Arispe