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HGF/NK4 inhibited VEGF-induced angiogenesis in in vitro cultured endothelial cells and in vivo rabbit model

Abstract

Aims/hypothesis. As vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays a pivotal role in the development of diabetic retinopathy, inhibition of angiogenesis induced by VEGF is crucial to treat diabetic retinopathy. HGF (hepatocyte growth factor)/NK4, containing the N-terminal hairpin domain and the four subsequent kringle domains of HGF, is considered as a specific antagonist for HGF. Our aim was to explore the inhibitory effects of HGF/NK4 on angiogenesis induced by VEGF.

Methods. To analyze the in vivo angiogenesis, we used rabbit corneal micropocket assay. Proliferation and migration of human endothelial cells, expression of ets-1, an essential transcription factor for angiogenesis, and the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) was examined with or without HGF/NK4.

Results. Using corneal micropocket assay, in vivo administration of HGF/NK4 inhibited angiogenesis induced by VEGF. HGF/NK4 inhibited proliferation and migration of human endothelial cells induced by VEGF in a dose-dependent manner. Interestingly, VEGF-mediated phosphorylation of ERK was significantly attenuated by HGF/NK4. Of importance, HGF/NK4 attenuated the increase in ets-1 protein stimulated by VEGF. Nevertheless, HGF/NK4 did not affect phosphorylation of VEGF receptor-2 [kinase domain region (KDR)/foetal liver kinase (Flk)-1]. Although tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor (Na3VO4), or okadaic acid, serine-threonin kinase inhibitor, did not prevent the inhibition of ERK phosphorylation by HGF/NK4, co-incubation of HGF/NK4 with VEGF significantly diminished mitogen-activated protein (MAP) ERK kinase (MEK) phosphorylation (p<0.01).

Conclusions/interpretation. Overall, HGF/NK4 inhibited angiogenesis induced by VEGF through inhibition of phosphorylation of ERK and ets-1 expression in in vitro cultured endothelial cells and in vivo rabbit model.

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Nakabayashi, .M., Morishita, .R., Nakagami, .H. et al. HGF/NK4 inhibited VEGF-induced angiogenesis in in vitro cultured endothelial cells and in vivo rabbit model. Diabetologia 46, 115–123 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-002-0954-y

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  • Vascular endothelial growth factor retinopathy angiogenesis HGF endothelial cell