- Role of endothelial Cytochrome P450 epoxygenases in the regulation of angiogenesis (2008)
- Cytochrome P450 epoxygenases of the 2C family (CYP2C) are highly expressed in the endothelium and metabolize arachidonic acid to different regioisomers of epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EET). They have a number of roles in the regulation of vascular tone and homeostasis by activating different signal transduction pathways and have recently been reported to be involved in proliferation and angiogenesis. However, the exact mechanisms by which epoxygenases regulate angiogenesis are still unclear. Therefore, the initial aim of the present study was to characterize the relevance of major signalling molecules that are involved in angiogenesis and to investigate possible signalling pathways involved. Initially the effect of CYP2C9 overexpression on expression levels of EphB4, a tyrosine kinase that plays a role in a number of developmental processes, was investigated. EphB4 protein expression was increased in CYP2C9 overexpressing cells without any effects on expression levels of its ligand ephrinB2. To clarify whether EphB4 is a critical determinant of CYP2C9-induced angiogenesis, endothelial cell sprouting was assessed using a collagen gel-based in vitro angiogenesis assay. Following transfection with EphB4 antisense or scrambled oligonucleotides, capillary-like structures were clearly present after 24 hours in cells overexpressing CYP2C9, while EphB4 downregulation abolished CYP2C9-induced sprouting. In addition stimulation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells with VEGF resulted in an increase in CYP2C expression and a subsequent increase of 11,12-EET production; an effect that was abolished by the CYP epoxygenases inhibitor MSPPOH as well as when cells were infected with a dominant negative mutant of AMPK. In vivo 11,12-EET treatment increased EphB4 expression in mesenteric arteries as well as in Matrigel plugs; an effect that was abolished when plugs were impregnated at the same time with small interfering RNA (siRNA) for EphB4. Furthermore, impregnation of Matrigel plugs with VEGF resulted in endothelial cell and smooth muscle cell recruitment into a Matrigel plug and this effect was mediated by CYP2C9-derived EETs as it was prevented by 14,15-EEZE. When infiltration of EET impregnated plugs with endothelial cells and pericytes/smooth muscle cells in vivo was compared to the effects seen in VEGF treated plugs, it was apparent that only EET treatment resulted in the formation of tube like structures that were covered by smooth muscle cells. Therefore, the final aim of the study was to further define the consequences of EET signalling in vivo as well as to characterize its physiological relevance. This hypothesis could be assessed by isolectin injection through the tail-vein where isolectin was taken up only by the EET-impregnated plug. Moreover ultrasound measurements revealed accumulation of contrast agent in EET impregnated plugs compared to control plugs. Taken together our findings emphasize that CYP2C plays a crucial role in the vessel formation process by modulating the effects mediated by two important control elements of the angiogenic response, namely VEGF and EphB4. CYP2C-derived EETs not only participate as second messengers in the angiogenic response, but have the potential to influence much more than angiogenesis by enhancing smooth muscle cell/pericyte recruitment to endothelial cell tubes to promote vascular maturation.