Browsing by Subject "ANGIOGENESIS"

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  • Ruotsalainen, Sanni E.; Partanen, Juulia J.; Cichonska, Anna; Lin, Jake; Benner, Christian; Surakka, Ida; Reeve, Mary Pat; Palta, Priit; Salmi, Marko; Jalkanen, Sirpa; Ahola-Olli, Ari; Palotie, Aarno; Salomaa, Veikko; Daly, Mark J.; Pirinen, Matti; Ripatti, Samuli; Koskela, Jukka (2021)
    Multivariate methods are known to increase the statistical power to detect associations in the case of shared genetic basis between phenotypes. They have, however, lacked essential analytic tools to follow-up and understand the biology underlying these associations. We developed a novel computational workflow for multivariate GWAS follow-up analyses, including fine-mapping and identification of the subset of traits driving associations (driver traits). Many follow-up tools require univariate regression coefficients which are lacking from multivariate results. Our method overcomes this problem by using Canonical Correlation Analysis to turn each multivariate association into its optimal univariate Linear Combination Phenotype (LCP). This enables an LCP-GWAS, which in turn generates the statistics required for follow-up analyses. We implemented our method on 12 highly correlated inflammatory biomarkers in a Finnish population-based study. Altogether, we identified 11 associations, four of which (F5, ABO, C1orf140 and PDGFRB) were not detected by biomarker-specific analyses. Fine-mapping identified 19 signals within the 11 loci and driver trait analysis determined the traits contributing to the associations. A phenome-wide association study on the 19 representative variants from the signals in 176,899 individuals from the FinnGen study revealed 53 disease associations (p <1 x 10(-4)). Several reported pQTLs in the 11 loci provided orthogonal evidence for the biologically relevant functions of the representative variants. Our novel multivariate analysis workflow provides a powerful addition to standard univariate GWAS analyses by enabling multivariate GWAS follow-up and thus promoting the advancement of powerful multivariate methods in genomics.
  • Gousopoulos, Epameinondas; Proulx, Steven T.; Bachmann, Samia B.; Dieterich, Lothar C.; Scholl, Jeannette; Karaman, Sinem; Bianchi, Roberta; Detmar, Michael (2017)
    Secondary lymphedema is a common complication after cancer treatment, but the pathomechanisms underlying the disease remain unclear. Using a mouse tail lymphedema model, we found an increase in local and systemic levels of the lymphangiogenic factor vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-C and identified CD68(+) macrophages as a cellular source. Surprisingly, overexpression of VEGF-C in a transgenic mouse model led to aggravation of lymphedema with increased immune cell infiltration and vascular leakage compared with wild-type littermates. Conversely, blockage of VEGF-C by overexpression of soluble VEGF receptor-3 reduced edema development, diminishing inflammation and blood vascular leakage. Similar findings were obtained in a hind limb lymph node excision lymphedema model. Flow cytometry analyses and immunofluorescence stainings in lymphedematic tissue showed that VEGF receptor-3 expression was restricted to lymphatic endothelial cells. Our data suggest that endogenous VEGF-C causes blood vascular leakage and fluid influx into the tissue, thus actively contributing to edema formation. These data may provide the basis for future clinical therapeutic approaches.
  • Chu, Man; Li, Taotao; Shen, Bin; Cao, Xudong; Zhong, Haoyu; Zhang, Luqing; Zhou, Fei; Ma, Wenjuan; Jiang, Haijuan; Xie, Pancheng; Liu, Zhengzheng; Dong, Ningzheng; Xu, Ying; Zhao, Yun; Xu, Guoqiang; Lu, Peirong; Luo, Jincai; Wu, Qingyu; Alitalo, Kari; Koh, Gou Young; Adams, Ralf H.; He, Yulong (2016)
    Mechanisms underlying the vein development remain largely unknown. Tie2 signaling mediates endothelial cell (EC) survival and vascular maturation and its activating mutations are linked to venous malformations. Here we show that vein formation are disrupted in mouse skin and mesentery when Tie2 signals are diminished by targeted deletion of Tek either ubiquitously or specifically in embryonic ECs. Postnatal Tie2 attenuation resulted in the degeneration of newly formed veins followed by the formation of haemangioma-like vascular tufts in retina and venous tortuosity. Mechanistically, Tie2 insufficiency compromised venous EC identity, as indicated by a significant decrease of COUP-TFII protein level, a key regulator in venogenesis. Consistently, angiopoietin-1 stimulation increased COUP-TFII in cultured ECs, while Tie2 knockdown or blockade of Tie2 downstream PI3K/Akt pathway reduced COUP-TFII which could be reverted by the proteasome inhibition. Together, our results imply that Tie2 is essential for venous specification and maintenance via Akt mediated stabilization of COUP-TFII.
  • Puranen, Jooseppi; Koponen, Sanna; Nieminen, Tiina; Kanerva, Iiris; Kokki, Emmi; Toivanen, Pyry; Urtti, Arto; Ylä-Herttuala, Seppo; Ruponen, Marika (2022)
    Pathological angiogenesis related to neovascularization in the eye is mediated through vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) and their receptors. Ocular neovascular-related diseases are mainly treated with anti-VEGF agents. In this study we evaluated the efficacy and safety of novel gene therapy using adeno associated virus 2 vector expressing a truncated form of soluble VEGF receptor-2 fused to the Fc-part of human IgG1 (AAV2-sVEGFR-2-Fc) to inhibit ocular neovascularization in laser induced choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in mice. The biological activity of sVEGFR-2-Fc was determined in vitro. It was shown that sVEGFR-2-Fc secreted from ARPE-19 cells was able to bind to VEGF-A165 and reduce VEGF-A165 induced cell growth and survival. A single intravitreal injection (IVT) of AAV2-sVEGFR-2-Fc (1 mu l, 4.7 x 1012 vg/ml) one-month prior laser photocoagu-lation did not cause any changes in the retinal morphology and significantly suppressed fluorescein leakage at 7, 14, 21 and 28 days post-lasering compared to controls. Macrophage infiltration was observed after the injection of both AAV2-sVEGFR-2-Fc and PBS. Our findings indicate that AAV2 mediated gene delivery of the sVEGFR-2-Fc efficiently reduces formation of CNV and could be developed to a therapeutic tool for the treatment of retinal diseases associated with neovascularization.
  • Rautiola, Juhana; Lampinen, Anita; Mirtti, Tuomas; Ristimaki, Ari; Joensuu, Heikki; Bono, Petri; Saharinen, Pipsa (2016)
    The Angiopoietin-2 (Ang2, Angpt2) growth factor is a context-dependent antagonist/agonist ligand of the endothelial Tie2 receptor tyrosine kinase and known to promote tumour angiogenesis and metastasis. Angiopoietin antagonists have been tested in clinical cancer trials in combination with VEGF-based anti-angiogenic therapy, including sunitinib, which is widely used as a first-line therapy for metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC). However, little is known about Ang2 protein expression in human tumours and the correlation of tumour Ang2 expression with tumour vascularization, tumour cell proliferation and response to anti-angiogenic therapies. Here, we evaluated, using immunohistochemistry, the expression of Ang2, CD31 and the cell proliferation marker Ki-67 in the primary kidney cancer from 136 mRCC patients, who received first-line sunitinib after nephrectomy. Ang2 protein expression was restrained to RCC tumour vessels, and correlated with tumour vascularization and response to sunitinib. High pre-therapeutic Ang2 expression, and more strongly, combined high expression of both Ang2 and CD31, were associated with a high clinical benefit rate (CBR). Low cancer Ki-67 expression, but not Ang2 or CD31 expression, was associated with favourable progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) as compared to patients with high Ki-67 expression (PFS 6.5 vs. 10.6 months, P = 0.009; OS, 15.7 vs. 28.5 months, P = 0.015). In summary, in this study to investigate endothelial Ang2 in mRCC patients treated with first-line sunitinib, high cancer Ang2 expression was associated with the CBR, but not PFS or OS, whereas low Ki-67 expression was significantly associated with long PFS and OS.
  • Martinez-Corral, Ines; Zhang, Yan; Petkova, Milena; Ortsater, Henrik; Sjoberg, Sofie; Castillo, Sandra D.; Brouillard, Pascal; Libbrecht, Louis; Saur, Dieter; Graupera, Mariona; Alitalo, Kari; Boon, Laurence; Vikkula, Miikka; Mäkinen, Taija (2020)
    Lymphatic malformations (LMs) are debilitating vascular anomalies presenting with large cysts (macrocystic) or lesions that infiltrate tissues (microcystic). Cellular mechanisms underlying LM pathology are poorly understood. Here we show that the somatic PIK3CA(H1047R) mutation, resulting in constitutive activation of the p110 alpha PI3K, underlies both macrocystic and microcystic LMs in human. Using a mouse model of PIK3CA(H1047R)-driven LM, we demonstrate that both types of malformations arise due to lymphatic endothelial cell (LEC)-autonomous defects, with the developmental timing of p110 alpha activation determining the LM subtype. In the postnatal vasculature, PIK3CA(H1047R) promotes LEC migration and lymphatic hypersprouting, leading to microcystic LMs that grow progressively in a vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C)-dependent manner. Combined inhibition of VEGF-C and the PI3K downstream target mTOR using Rapamycin, but neither treatment alone, promotes regression of lesions. The best therapeutic outcome for LM is thus achieved by co-inhibition of the upstream VEGF-C/VEGFR3 and the downstream PI3K/mTOR pathways. Lymphatic malformation (LM) is a debilitating often incurable vascular disease. Using a mouse model of LM driven by a disease-causative PIK3CA mutation, the authors show that vascular growth is dependent on the upstream lymphangiogenic VEGF-C signalling, permitting effective therapeutic intervention.
  • Kallio, Pauliina; Jokinen, Elina; Högström, Jenny; Das, Suvendu; Heino, Sarika; Lähde, Marianne; Brodkin, Jefim; Korhonen, Emilia A.; Alitalo, Kari (2020)
    Abnormal vasculature in tumors leads to poor tissue perfusion and cytostatic drug delivery. Although drugs inducing vascular normalization, for example, angiopoietin-2 (Ang2)-blocking antibodies, have shown promising results in preclinical tumor models, clinical studies have so far shown only little efficacy. Because Ang2 is known to play a protective role in stressed endothelial cells, we tested here whether Ang2 blocking could enhance radiation-induced tumor vascular damage. Tumor-bearing mice were treated with anti-Ang2 antibodies every 3 or 4 days starting 3 days before 3 x 2 Gy or 4 x 0.5 Gy whole-body or tumor-focused radiation. Combination treatment with anti-Ang2 and radiation improved tumor growth inhibition and extended the survival of mice with melanoma or colorectal tumors. Single-cell RNA-sequencing revealed that Ang2 blocking rescued radiation-induced decreases inT cells and cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage. In addition, anti-Ang2 enhanced radiation-induced apoptosis in cultured endothelial cells. In vivo, combination treatment decreased tumor vasculature and increased tumor necrosis in comparison with tumors treated with monotherapies. These results suggest that a combination of Ang2-blocking antibodies with radiation increases tumor growth inhibition and extends the survival of tumor-bearing mice. Significance: These findings offer a preclinical rationale for further testing of the use of radiation in combination with Ang2-blocking antibodies to improve the overall outcome of cancer treatment.
  • Wiechec, Emilia; Magan, Mustafa; Matic, Natasa; Ansell-Schultz, Anna; Kankainen, Matti; Monni, Outi; Johansson, Ann-Charlotte; Roberg, Karin (2021)
    Simple Summary Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are the major cellular component of the tumor microenvironment and have been shown to stimulate tumor growth, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), invasion, and radio-resistance. Radio-resistance leading to disease relapse is one of the major challenges in long-term survival and outcome in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Therefore, it is essential to search for predictive markers and new targets for treatment using clinically relevant in vitro tumor models. We show that CAFs alter the expression of HNSCC tumor cell genes, many of which are associated with proliferation, differentiation, and metastasis. Moreover, the expression pattern of selected CAF-regulated genes differed between HNSCC tumor tissue and the adjacent non-tumoral tissue. Two CAF-regulated genes, MMP9 and FMOD, were found to be associated with overall survival (OS) in patients treated with radiotherapy. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are known to increase tumor growth and to stimulate invasion and metastasis. Increasing evidence suggests that CAFs mediate response to various treatments. HNSCC cell lines were co-cultured with their patient-matched CAFs in 2D and 3D in vitro models, and the tumor cell gene expression profiles were investigated by cDNA microarray and qRT-PCR. The mRNA expression of eight candidate genes was examined in tumor biopsies from 32 HNSCC patients and in five biopsies from normal oral tissue. Differences in overall survival (OS) were tested with Kaplan-Meier long-rank analysis. Thirteen protein coding genes were found to be differentially expressed in tumor cells co-cultured with CAFs in 2D and 81 in 3D when compared to tumor cells cultured without CAFs. Six of these genes were upregulated both in 2D and 3D (POSTN, GREM1, BGN, COL1A2, COL6A3, and COL1A1). Moreover, two genes upregulated in 3D, MMP9 and FMOD, were significantly associated with the OS. In conclusion, we demonstrated in vitro that CAF-derived signals alter the tumor cell expression of multiple genes, several of which are associated with differentiation, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype, and metastasis. Moreover, six of the most highly upregulated genes were found to be overexpressed in tumor tissue compared to normal tissue.
  • Hemanthakumar, Karthik Amudhala; Fang, Shentong; Anisimov, Andrey; Mäyränpää, Mikko I.; Mervaala, Eero; Kivelä, Riikka (2021)
    Aging, obesity, hypertension, and physical inactivity are major risk factors for endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular disease (CVD). We applied fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), RNA sequencing, and bioinformatic methods to investigate the common effects of CVD risk factors in mouse cardiac endothelial cells (ECs). Aging, obesity, and pressure overload all upregulated pathways related to TGF-beta signaling and mesenchymal gene expression, inflammation, vascular permeability, oxidative stress, collagen synthesis, and cellular senescence, whereas exercise training attenuated most of the same pathways. We identified collagen chaperone Serpinhl (also called as Hsp47) to be significantly increased by aging and obesity and repressed by exercise training. Mechanistic studies demonstrated that increased SERPINH1 in human ECs induced mesenchymal properties, while its silencing inhibited collagen deposition. Our data demonstrate that CVD risk factors significantly remodel the transcriptomic landscape of cardiac ECs inducing inflammatory, senescence, and mesenchymal features. SERPINH1 was identified as a potential therapeutic target in ECs.
  • Leppänen, Veli-Matti; Brouillard, Pascal; Korhonen, Emilia A.; Sipilä, Tuomas; Jha, Sawan Kumar; Revencu, Nicole; Labarque, Veerle; Fastré, Elodie; Schlögel, Matthieu; Ravoet, Marie; Singer, Amihood; Luzzatto, Claudia; Angelone, Donatella; Crichiutti, Giovanni; D’Elia, Angela; Kuurne, Jaakko; Elamaa, Harri; Koh, Gou Young; Saharinen, Pipsa; Vikkula, Miikka; Alitalo, Kari (2020)
    Lymphedema can occur when tissue fluid cannot enter or leaks from the lymphatic system into surrounding tissues. Some genetic causes of primary lymphedema are known, but these currently explain a minority of cases. Previous studies have shown that dominant-negative mutations in angiopoietin 2 (ANGPT2), which is involved in lymphatic vessel formation and maturation, promote lymphangiogenesis in mice. Leppänen et al. now show that inactivating mutations in angiopoietin 2 associate with primary lymphedema in humans.Primary lymphedema is caused by developmental and functional defects of the lymphatic vascular system that result in accumulation of protein-rich fluid in tissues, resulting in edema. The 28 currently known genes causing primary lymphedema can explain &lt;30% of cases. Angiopoietin 1 (ANGPT1) and ANGPT2 function via the TIE1-TIE2 (tyrosine kinase with immunoglobulin-like and epidermal growth factor–like domains 1 and 2) receptor complex and α5β1 integrin to form an endothelial cell signaling pathway that is critical for blood and lymphatic vessel formation and remodeling during embryonic development, as well as for homeostasis of the mature vasculature. By screening a cohort of 543 individuals affected by primary lymphedema, we identified one heterozygous de novo ANGPT2 whole-gene deletion and four heterozygous ANGPT2 missense mutations. Functional analyses revealed three missense mutations that resulted in decreased ANGPT2 secretion and inhibited the secretion of wild-type (WT)–ANGPT2, suggesting that they have a dominant-negative effect on ANGPT2 signaling. WT-ANGPT2 and soluble mutants T299M and N304K activated TIE1 and TIE2 in an autocrine assay in human lymphatic endothelial cells. Molecular modeling and biophysical studies showed that amino-terminally truncated ANGPT subunits formed asymmetrical homodimers that bound TIE2 in a 2:1 ratio. The T299M mutant, located in the dimerization interphase, showed reduced integrin α5 binding, and its expression in mouse skin promoted hyperplasia and dilation of cutaneous lymphatic vessels. These results demonstrate that primary lymphedema can be associated with ANGPT2 mutations and provide insights into TIE1 and TIE2 activation mechanisms.
  • Liu, Zehua; Li, Yunzhan; Li, Wei; Lian, Wenhua; Kemell, Marianna; Hietala, Sami; Figueiredo, Patricia; Li, Li; Mäkilä, Ermei; Ma, Ming; Salonen, Jarno; Hirvonen, Jouni T.; Liu, Dongfei; Zhang, Hongbo; Deng, Xianming; Santos, Helder A. (2019)
    Here, an oxidation/acid dual-responsive nanohybrids/ark system was produced. The microfluidics-produced nanohybrids endow the system with an orchestrated cascade from wound detection, reactive oxygen species scavenging, drug release to hydrogel formation. The drug release behavior imitates the dynamic wound healing process, thus rendering an enhanced bio-mimetic regeneration.
  • Guryanov, Ivan; Korzhikov-Vlakh, Viktor; Bhattacharya, Madhushree; Biondi, Barbara; Masiero, Giulia; Formaggio, Fernando; Tennikova, Tatiana; Urtti, Arto (2021)
    The design of efficient vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors is a high-priority research area aimed at the treatment of pathological angiogenesis. Among other compounds, v114* has been identified as a potent VEGF-binding peptide. In order to improve the affinity to VEGF, we built a conformational constrain in its structure. To this aim, C-alpha-tetrasubstituted amino acid Aib was introduced into the N-terminal tail, peptide loop, or C-terminal helix. NMR studies confirmed the stabilization of the helical conformation in proximity to the Aib residue. We found that the induction of the N-terminal helical structure or stabilization of the C-terminal helix can noticeably increase the peptide affinity to the VEGF. These peptides efficiently inhibited VEGF-stimulated cell proliferation as well. The insertion of the non-proteinogenic Aib residue significantly enhanced the stability of the peptides in the vitreous environment. Thus, these Aib-containing peptides are promising candidates for the design of VEGF inhibitors with improved properties.
  • Falke, J.; Parkkinen, J.; Vaahtera, L.; Hulsbergen-van de Kaa, C. A.; Oosterwijk, E.; Witjes, J. A. (2018)
    Objective. To evaluate the antitumor effect of cyclodextrin-curcumin complex (CDC) on human and rat urothelial carcinoma cells in vitro and to evaluate the effect of intravesical instillations of CDC, BCG, and the combination in vivo in the AY-F344 orthotopic bladder cancer rat model. Curcumin has anticarcinogenic activity on urothelial carcinoma and is therefore under investigation for the treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. Curcumin and BCG share immunomodulating pathways against urothelial carcinoma. Methods. Curcumin was complexed with cyclodextrin to improve solubility. Four human urothelial carcinoma cell lines and the AY-27 rat cell line were exposed to various concentrations of CDC in vitro. For the in vivo experiment, the AY-27 orthotopic bladder cancer F344 rat model was used. Rats were treated with consecutive intravesical instillations of CDC, BCG, the combination of CDC+BCG, or NaCl as control. Results. CDC showed a dose-dependent antiproliferative effect on all human urothelial carcinoma cell lines tested and the rat AY-27 urothelial carcinoma cell line. Moreover, intravesical treatment with CDC and CDC+BCG results in a lower percentage of tumors (60% and 68%, respectively) compared to BCG (75%) or control (85%). This difference with placebo was not statistically significant (p=0.078 and 0.199, respectively). However, tumors present in the placebo and BCG-treated rats were generally of higher stage. Conclusions. Cyclodextrin-curcumin complex showed an antiproliferative effect on human and rat urothelial carcinoma cell lines in vitro. In the aggressive orthotopic bladder cancer rat model, we observed a promising effect of CDC treatment and CDC in combination with BCG.
  • Aalto-Setälä, Laura; Uppstu, Peter; Sinitsyna, Polina; Lindfors, Nina C.; Hupa, Leena (2021)
    The silicate-based bioactive glass S53P4 is clinically used in bone regenerative applications in granule form. However, utilization of the glass in scaffold form has been limited by the high tendency of the glass to crystallize during sintering. Here, careful optimization of sintering parameters enabled the manufacture of porous amorphous S53P4 scaffolds with a strength high enough for surgical procedures in bone applications (5 MPa). Sintering was conducted in a laboratory furnace for times ranging from 25 to 300 min at 630 degrees C, i.e., narrowly below the commencement of the crystallization. The phase composition of the scaffolds was verified with XRD, and the ion release was tested in vitro and compared with granules in continuous flow of Tris buffer and simulated body fluid (SBF). The amorphous, porous S53P4 scaffolds present the possibility of using the glass composition in a wider range of applications.
  • Al-Samadi, Ahmed; Moossavi, Shirin; Salem, Abdelhakim; Sotoudeh, Masoud; Tuovinen, Sarianna M.; Konttinen, Yrjo T.; Salo, Tuula; Bishehsari, Faraz (2016)
    Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common cancers in both genders. Even though interleukin (IL)-17A was shown to play an important role in intestinal tumourigenesis and CRC, other IL-17 family members were not studied well. We therefore studied the expression of IL-17 cytokine family members in CRC. Ten healthy colons and ten CRC mucosa were immunostained for IL-17B, IL-17C, IL-17E, and IL-17F, and their receptors IL-17RA, IL-17RB, and IL-17RC. Double immunofluorescence staining of the CRC mucosa was done for IL-17B with markers of neutrophils, endothelial cells, macrophages, T cells, mast cells, or fibroblasts. While IL-17B was increased in CRC with a strong presence both in the epithelial and stromal compartments, IL-17C showed different expression depending on the grade of differentiation and IL-17E remained unchanged. In contrast, IL-17F was decreased in CRC compared to healthy control. Colon epithelial cells stained positive for IL-17RA, IL-17RB, and IL-17RC in both healthy control and CRC. Neutrophils were the main source of IL-17B in the stroma. IL-17 family members demonstrated distinct expression patterns in CRC, suggesting a differential role exerted by each member in colon carcinogenesis.
  • Auvinen, Vili-Veli; Merivaara, Arto; Kiiskinen, Jasmi; Paukkonen, Heli; Laurén, Patrick; Hakkarainen, Tiina; Koivuniemi, Raili; Sarkanen, Riina; Ylikomi, Timo; Laaksonen, Timo; Yliperttula, Marjo (2019)
    The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of two nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) hydrogels on two human derivatives during freeze-drying. Native NFC hydrogel is a suitable platform to culture 3D cell spheroids and a hydrogel processed further, called anionic NFC (ANFC) hydrogel, is an excellent platform for controlled release of proteins. Moreover, it has been shown to be compatible with freeze-drying when correct lyoprotectants are implemented. Freeze-drying is a method, where substance is first frozen, and then vacuum dried trough sublimation of water in order to achieve dry matter without the loss of the original three-dimensional structures. The first chosen human derivative was adipose tissue extract (ATE) which is a cell-free growth factor-rich preparation capable of promoting growth of regenerative cells. The release of growth factors from the freeze-dried mixture of ATE and ANFC was compared to that of non-freeze-dried control mixtures. The release profiles remained at the same level after freeze-drying. The second derivative was hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2) cell spheroids which were evaluated before and after freeze-drying. The 3D structure of the HepG2 cell spheroids was preserved and the spheroids retained 18% of their metabolic activity after rehydration. However, the freeze-dried and rehydrated HepG2 cell spheroids did not proliferate and the cell membrane was damaged by fusion and formation of crystals.
  • Kivelä, Riikka; Hemanthakumar, Karthik Amudhala; Vaparanta, Katri; Robciuc, Marius; Izumiya, Yasuhiro; Kidoya, Hiroyasu; Takakura, Nobuyuki; Peng, Xuyang; Sawyer, Douglas B.; Elenius, Klaus; Walsh, Kenneth; Alitalo, Kari (2019)
    Background: Heart failure, which is a major global health problem, is often preceded by pathological cardiac hypertrophy. The expansion of the cardiac vasculature, to maintain adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients, is a key determinant of whether the heart grows in a physiological compensated manner or a pathological decompensated manner. Bidirectional endothelial cell (EC)-cardiomyocyte (CMC) cross talk via cardiokine and angiocrine signaling plays an essential role in the regulation of cardiac growth and homeostasis. Currently, the mechanisms involved in the EC-CMC interaction are not fully understood, and very little is known about the EC-derived signals involved. Understanding how an excess of angiogenesis induces cardiac hypertrophy and how ECs regulate CMC homeostasis could provide novel therapeutic targets for heart failure. Methods: Genetic mouse models were used to delete vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors, adeno-associated viral vectors to transduce the myocardium, and pharmacological inhibitors to block VEGF and ErbB signaling in vivo. Cell culture experiments were used for mechanistic studies, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction, microarrays, ELISA, and immunohistochemistry were used to analyze the cardiac phenotypes. Results: Both EC deletion of VEGF receptor (VEGFR)-1 and adeno-associated viral vector-mediated delivery of the VEGFR1-specific ligands VEGF-B or placental growth factor into the myocardium increased the coronary vasculature and induced CMC hypertrophy in adult mice. The resulting cardiac hypertrophy was physiological, as indicated by preserved cardiac function and exercise capacity and lack of pathological gene activation. These changes were mediated by increased VEGF signaling via endothelial VEGFR2, because the effects of VEGF-B and placental growth factor on both angiogenesis and CMC growth were fully inhibited by treatment with antibodies blocking VEGFR2 or by endothelial deletion of VEGFR2. To identify activated pathways downstream of VEGFR2, whole-genome transcriptomics and secretome analyses were performed, and the Notch and ErbB pathways were shown to be involved in transducing signals for EC-CMC cross talk in response to angiogenesis. Pharmacological or genetic blocking of ErbB signaling also inhibited part of the VEGF-B-induced effects in the heart. Conclusions: This study reveals that cross talk between the EC VEGFR2 and CMC ErbB signaling pathways coordinates CMC hypertrophy with angiogenesis, contributing to physiological cardiac growth.
  • Hakanpaa, Laura; Sipila, Tuomas; Leppanen, Veli-Matti; Gautam, Prson; Nurmi, Harri; Jacquemet, Guillaume; Eklund, Lauri; Ivaska, Johanna; Alitalo, Kari; Saharinen, Pipsa (2015)
  • Blasiak, Janusz; Watala, Cezary; Tuuminen, Raimo; Kivinen, Niko; Koskela, Ali; Uusitalo-Jarvinen, Hannele; Tuulonen, Anja; Winiarczyk, Mateusz; Mackiewicz, Jerzy; Zmorzynski, Szymon; Filip, Agata; Kaarniranta, Kai (2019)
    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression; many of them act in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), and RPE degeneration is known to be a critical factor in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Repeated injections with anti-VEGFA (vascular endothelial growth factor A) are the only effective therapy in wet AMD. We investigated the correlation between the expression of 18 miRNAs involved in the regulation of the VEGFA gene in serum of 76 wet AMD patients and 70 controls. Efficacy of anti-VEGFA treatment was evaluated by counting the number of injections delivered up to 12 years. In addition, we compared the relative numbers of deaths in patient with AMD and control groups. We observed a decreased expression of miR-34-5p, miR-126-3p, miR-145-5p and miR-205-5p in wet AMD patients as compared with controls. These miRNAs are involved in the regulation of angiogenesis, cytoprotection and protein clearance. No miRNA was significantly correlated with the treatment outcome. Wet AMD patients had greater mortality than controls, and their survival was inversely associated with the number of anti-VEGFA injections per year. No association was observed between miRNA expression and mortality. Our study emphasizes the need to clarify the role of miRNA regulation in AMD pathogenesis.
  • Helle, Emmi; Ampuja, Minna; Antola, Laura; Kivelä, Riikka (2020)
    The vascular system is essential for the development and function of all organs and tissues in our body. The molecular signature and phenotype of endothelial cells (EC) are greatly affected by blood flow-induced shear stress, which is a vital component of vascular development and homeostasis. Recent advances in differentiation of ECs from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) have enabled development of in vitro experimental models of the vasculature containing cells from healthy individuals or from patients harboring genetic variants or diseases of interest. Here we have used hiPSC-derived ECs and bulk- and single-cell RNA sequencing to study the effect of flow on the transcriptomic landscape of hiPSC-ECs and their heterogeneity. We demonstrate that hiPS-ECs are plastic and they adapt to flow by expressing known flow-induced genes. Single-cell RNA sequencing showed that flow induced a more homogenous and homeostatically more stable EC population compared to static cultures, as genes related to cell polarization, barrier formation and glucose and fatty acid transport were induced. The hiPS-ECs increased both arterial and venous markers when exposed to flow. Interestingly, while in general there was a greater increase in the venous markers, one cluster with more arterial-like hiPS-ECs was detected. Single-cell RNA sequencing revealed that not all hiPS-ECs are similar even after sorting, but exposing them to flow increases their homogeneity. Since hiPS-ECs resemble immature ECs and demonstrate high plasticity in response to flow, they provide an excellent model to study vascular development.