Browsing by Subject "VEGF-C"

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  • Haegerling, Rene; Pollmann, Cathrin; Andreas, Martin; Schmidt, Christian; Nurmi, Harri; Adams, Ralf H.; Alitalo, Kari; Andresen, Volker; Schulte-Merker, Stefan; Kiefer, Friedemann (2013)
  • Brakenhielm, Ebba; Alitalo, Kari (2019)
    The lymphatic vasculature, which accompanies the blood vasculature in most organs, is indispensable in the maintenance of tissue fluid homeostasis, immune cell trafficking, and nutritional lipid uptake and transport, as well as in reverse cholesterol transport. In this Review, we discuss the physiological role of the lymphatic system in the heart in the maintenance of cardiac health and describe alterations in lymphatic structure and function that occur in cardiovascular pathology, including atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction. We also briefly discuss the role that immune cells might have in the regulation of lymphatic growth (lymphangiogenesis) and function. Finally, we provide examples of how the cardiac lymphatics can be targeted therapeutically to restore lymphatic drainage in the heart to limit myocardial oedema and chronic inflammation.
  • Krebs, Rainer; Jeltsch, Michael (2013)
    VEGF-C and VEGF-D are the two central signaling molecules that stimulate the development and growth of the lymphatic system. Both belong to the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) protein family, which plays important roles in the growth of blood vessels (angiogenesis) and lymphatic vessels (lymphangiogenesis). In mammals, the VEGF family comprises five members: VEGF-A, PlGF, VEGF-B, VEGF-C and VEGF-D. The family was named after VEGF-A, the first member to be discovered. VEGF-C and VEGF-D form a subgroup within this family in terms of function and structure. Their distinctive biosynthesis differentiates them from the other VEGFs: they are produced as inactive precursors and need to be activated by proteolytic removal of their long N- and C-terminal propeptides. Unlike the other VEGFs, VEGF-C and VEGF-D are direct stimulators of lymphatic vessel growth. They exert their lymphangiogenic function via VEGF receptor 3, which is expressed in the adult organism almost exclusively on lymphatic endothelial cells. In this review, we provide an overview of the VEGF protein family and their receptors. We focus on the lymphangiogenic VEGF-C and VEGF-D, discussing their biosynthesis and their role in embryonic lymphangiogenesis.
  • Krebs, Rainer; Jeltsch, Michael (2013)
    Vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C) and VEGF-D are the two central signaling molecules that govern the development and growth of the lymphovascular system. The presence or absence of lymphangiogenesis plays a central and sometimes causative role in a variety of diseases. Therefore, molecules that govern lymphangiogenesis, especially VEGF-C and VEGFR-3, offer the possibility for therapeutic interventions. Although the blockade of lymphangiogenesis does not yet exist as an independent therapeutic concept, a number of anti-lymphangiogenic drugs are now being tested in clinical trials. The rationale is that targeting VEGF-C and VEGF-D can improve the current anti-angiogenic treatment, since tumors may deploy the angiogenic forms of VEGF-C and VEGF-D when VEGF-A-mediated angiogenesis is blocked therapeutically. Despite numerous attempts, no breakthroughs have occurred in pro-angiogenic thera- pies to date. Furthermore, pro-lymphangiogenic, VEGF-C- or VEGF-D-based, therapies have not yet even entered the clinical trial phase. However, one clinical study with VEGF- C is now in preparation, namely in combination with lymph node transplantation for the treatment of postmastectomy edema. Here, we review the roles that VEGF-C, VEGF-D and their receptors play in diseases involving the lymphatic vascular system, and we present possibilities for utilizing these molecules to stimulate lymphatic vessel growth to treat lymphedema, or to block their functions in order to inhibit tumor angiogenesis and tumor lymphangiogenesis.
  • Jeltsch, Markku (University of Helsinki, 1997)
  • Johns, Scott C.; Yin, Xin; Jeltsch, Michael; Bishop, Joseph R.; Schuksz, Manuela; El Ghazal, Roland; Wilcox-Adelman, Sarah A.; Alitalo, Kari; Fuster, Mark M. (2016)
    Rationale: Lymphatic vessel growth is mediated by major prolymphangiogenic factors, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-C) and VEGF-D, among other endothelial effectors. Heparan sulfate is a linear polysaccharide expressed on proteoglycan core proteins on cell membranes and matrix, playing roles in angiogenesis, although little is known about any function(s) in lymphatic remodeling in vivo. Objective: To explore the genetic basis and mechanisms, whereby heparan sulfate proteoglycans mediate pathological lymphatic remodeling. Methods and Results: Lymphatic endothelial deficiency in the major heparan sulfate biosynthetic enzyme N-deacetylase/N-sulfotransferase-1 (Ndst1; involved in glycan-chain sulfation) was associated with reduced lymphangiogenesis in pathological models, including spontaneous neoplasia. Mouse mutants demonstrated tumor-associated lymphatic vessels with apoptotic nuclei. Mutant lymphatic endothelia demonstrated impaired mitogen (Erk) and survival (Akt) pathway signaling and reduced VEGF-C-mediated protection from starvation-induced apoptosis. Lymphatic endothelial-specific Ndst1 deficiency (in Ndst1(f/f)Prox1(+/CreERT2) mice) was sufficient to inhibit VEGF-C-dependent lymphangiogenesis. Lymphatic heparan sulfate deficiency reduced phosphorylation of the major lymphatic growth receptor VEGF receptor-3 in response to multiple VEGF-C species. Syndecan-4 was the dominantly expressed heparan sulfate proteoglycan in mouse lymphatic endothelia, and pathological lymphangiogenesis was impaired in Sdc4((-/-)) mice. On the lymphatic cell surface, VEGF-C induced robust association between syndecan-4 and VEGF receptor-3, which was sensitive to glycan disruption. Moreover, VEGF receptor-3 mitogen and survival signaling was reduced in the setting of Ndst1 or Sdc4 deficiency. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate the genetic importance of heparan sulfate and the major lymphatic proteoglycan syndecan-4 in pathological lymphatic remodeling. This may introduce novel future strategies to alter pathological lymphatic-vascular remodeling.
  • Suh, Sang Heon; Choe, Kibaek; Hong, Seon Pyo; Jeong, Seung-hwan; Mäkinen, Taija; Kim, Kwang Soon; Alitalo, Kari; Surh, Charles D.; Koh, Gou Young; Song, Joo-Hye (2019)
    A lacteal is a blunt-ended, long, tube-like lymphatic vessel located in the center of each intestinal villus that provides a unique route for drainage of absorbed lipids from the small intestine. However, key regulators for maintaining lacteal integrity are poorly understood. Here, we explore whether and how the gut microbiota regulates lacteal integrity. Germ depletion by antibiotic treatment triggers lacteal regression during adulthood and delays lacteal maturation during the postnatal period. In accordance with compromised lipid absorption, the button-like junction between lymphatic endothelial cells, which is ultrastructurally open to permit free entry of dietary lipids into lacteals, is significantly reduced in lacteals of germ-depleted mice. Lacteal defects are also found in germ-free mice, but conventionalization of germ-free mice leads to normalization of lacteals. Mechanistically, VEGF-C secreted from villus macrophages upon MyD88-dependent recognition of microbes and their products is a main factor in lacteal integrity. Collectively, we conclude that the gut microbiota is a crucial regulator for lacteal integrity by endowing its unique microenvironment and regulating villus macrophages in small intestine.
  • Mukenge, Sylvain; Jha, Sawan K.; Catena, Marco; Manara, Elena; Leppänen, Veli-Matti; Lenti, Elisa; Negrini, Daniela; Bertelli, Matteo; Brendolan, Andrea; Jeltsch, Michael; Aldrighetti, Luca (2020)
    Background Milroy-like disease is the diagnostic definition used for patients with phenotypes that resemble classic Milroy disease (MD) but are negative to genetic testing forFLT4. In this study, we aimed at performing a genetic characterization and biochemical analysis of VEGF-C variations found in a female proband born with congenital edema consistent with Milroy-like disease. Methods The proband underwent next-generation sequencing-based genetic testing for a panel of genes associated with known forms of hereditary lymphedema. Segregation analysis was performed on family members by direct sequencing. In vitro studies were performed to evaluate the role of a novel identified variant. Results TwoVEGF-Cvariations were found in the proband, a novel p.(Ser65Arg) and a pathogenic c.148-3_148-2delCA, of paternal and maternal origin, respectively. Functional characterization of the p.(Ser65Arg) variation in vitro showed alterations in VEGF-C processing. Conclusions Our findings reveal an interesting case in which biallelic variants inVEGF-Care found in a patient with Milroy-like lymphedema. These data expand our understanding of the etiology of congenital Milroy-like lymphedema.
  • Jha, Sawan Kumar; Rauniyar, Khusbu; Chronowska, Ewa; Mattonet, Kenny; Maina, Eunice; Koistinen, Hannu; Stenman, Ulf Håkan; Alitalo, Kari; Jeltsch, Michael (2019)
    Vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C) acts primarily on endothelial cells, but also on non-vascular targets, e.g. in the CNS and immune system. Here we describe a novel, unique VEGF-C form in the human reproductive system produced via cleavage by kallikrein-related peptidase 3 (KLK3), aka prostate-specific antigen (PSA). KLK3 activated VEGF-C specifically and efficiently through cleavage at a novel N-terminal site. We detected VEGF-C in seminal plasma, and sperm liquefaction occurred concurrently with VEGF-C activation, which was enhanced by collagen and calcium binding EGF domains 1 (CCBE1). After plasmin and ADAMTS3, KLK3 is the third protease shown to activate VEGF-C. Since differently activated VEGF-Cs are characterized by successively shorter N-terminal helices, we created an even shorter hypothetical form, which showed preferential binding to VEGFR-3. Using mass spectrometric analysis of the isolated VEGF-C-cleaving activity from human saliva, we identified cathepsin D as a protease that can activate VEGF-C as well as VEGF-D.
  • Hartiala, Pauliina; Saarikko, Anne M. (2016)
    Lymphedema is a progressive disease caused by damage to the lymphatic network. Recent development in the fields of preclinical growth factor research and lymphedema microsurgery promise new hope for lymphedema patients. In this article, we review the latest results on basic research and highlight the role of specific growth factors in normal lymphatic development and several disease states. Lymph node transfer, a new promising method in reconstructive lymphatic microsurgery, is also dependent on the lymphatic vascular regrowth and lymphangiogenic growth factors. We discuss the scientific basis of lymph node transfer and therapeutic potential of lymphangiogenic growth factors in the treatment of lymphedema.
  • Vaahtomeri, Kari; Karaman, Sinem; Makinen, Taija; Alitalo, Kari (2017)
    Lymphatic vessels are important for tissue fluid homeostasis, lipid absorption, and immune cell trafficking and are involved in the pathogenesis of several human diseases. The mechanisms by which the lymphatic vasculature network is formed, remodeled, and adapted to physiological and pathological challenges are controlled by an intricate balance of growth factor and biomechanical cues. These transduce signals for the readjustment of gene expression and lymphatic endothelial migration, proliferation, and differentiation. In this review, we describe several of these cues and how they are integrated for the generation of functional lymphatic vessel networks.
  • Houssari, Mahmoud; Dumesnil, Anais; Tardif, Virginie; Kivela, Riikka; Pizzinat, Nathalie; Boukhalfa, Ines; Godefroy, David; Schapman, Damien; Hemanthakumar, Karthik A.; Bizou, Mathilde; Henry, Jean-Paul; Renet, Sylvanie; Riou, Gaetan; Rondeaux, Julie; Anouar, Youssef; Adriouch, Sahil; Fraineau, Sylvain; Alitalo, Kari; Richard, Vincent; Mulder, Paul; Brakenhielm, Ebba (2020)
    Objective: Lymphatics play an essential pathophysiological role in promoting fluid and immune cell tissue clearance. Conversely, immune cells may influence lymphatic function and remodeling. Recently, cardiac lymphangiogenesis has been proposed as a therapeutic target to prevent heart failure after myocardial infarction (MI). We investigated the effects of gene therapy to modulate cardiac lymphangiogenesis post-MI in rodents. Second, we determined the impact of cardiac-infiltrating T cells on lymphatic remodeling in the heart. Approach and Results: Comparing adenoviral versus adeno-associated viral gene delivery in mice, we found that only sustained VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor)-C(C156S)therapy, achieved by adeno-associated viral vectors, increased cardiac lymphangiogenesis, and led to reduced cardiac inflammation and dysfunction by 3 weeks post-MI. Conversely, inhibition of VEGF-C/-D signaling, through adeno-associated viral delivery of soluble VEGFR3 (vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 3), limited infarct lymphangiogenesis. Unexpectedly, this treatment improved cardiac function post-MI in both mice and rats, linked to reduced infarct thinning due to acute suppression of T-cell infiltration. Finally, using pharmacological, genetic, and antibody-mediated prevention of cardiac T-cell recruitment in mice, we discovered that both CD4(+)and CD8(+)T cells potently suppress, in part through interferon-gamma, cardiac lymphangiogenesis post-MI. Conclusions: We show that resolution of cardiac inflammation after MI may be accelerated by therapeutic lymphangiogenesis based on adeno-associated viral gene delivery of VEGF-C-C156S. Conversely, our work uncovers a major negative role of cardiac-recruited T cells on lymphatic remodeling. Our results give new insight into the interconnection between immune cells and lymphatics in orchestration of cardiac repair after injury.
  • Mäkinen, Taija; Boon, Laurence M.; Vikkula, Miikka; Alitalo, Kari (2021)
    Lymphatic vessels maintain tissue fluid homeostasis by returning to blood circulation interstitial fluid that has extravasated from the blood capillaries. They provide a trafficking route for cells of the immune system, thus critically contributing to immune surveillance. Developmental or functional defects in the lymphatic vessels, their obstruction or damage, lead to accumulation of fluid in tissues, resulting in lymphedema. Here we discuss developmental lymphatic anomalies called lymphatic malformations and complex lymphatic anomalies that manifest as localized or multifocal lesions of the lymphatic vasculature, respectively. They are rare diseases that are caused mostly by somatic mutations and can present with variable symptoms based upon the size and location of the lesions composed of fluid-filled cisterns or channels. Substantial progress has been made recently in understanding the molecular basis of their pathogenesis through the identification of their genetic causes, combined with the elucidation of the underlying mechanisms in animal disease models and patient-derived lymphatic endothelial cells. Most of the solitary somatic mutations that cause lymphatic malformations and complex lymphatic anomalies occur in genes that encode components of oncogenic growth factor signal transduction pathways. This has led to successful repurposing of some targeted cancer therapeutics to the treatment of lymphatic malformations and complex lymphatic anomalies. Apart from the mutations that act as lymphatic endothelial cell-autonomous drivers of these anomalies, current evidence points to superimposed paracrine mechanisms that critically contribute to disease pathogenesis and thus provide additional targets for therapeutic intervention. Here, we review these advances and discuss new treatment strategies that are based on the recently identified molecular pathways.
  • Gucciardo, Erika; Loukovaara, Sirpa; Salven, Petri; Lehti, Kaisa (2018)
    Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the most common diabetic microvascular complication and major cause of blindness in working-age adults. According to the level of microvascular degeneration and ischemic damage, DR is classified into non-proliferative DR (NPDR), and end-stage, proliferative DR (PDR). Despite advances in the disease etiology and pathogenesis, molecular understanding of end-stage PDR, characterized by ischemia- and inflammation-associated neovascularization and fibrosis, remains incomplete due to the limited availability of ideal clinical samples and experimental research models. Since a great portion of patients do not benefit from current treatments, improved therapies are essential. DR is known to be a complex and multifactorial disease featuring the interplay of microvascular, neurodegenerative, metabolic, genetic/epigenetic, immunological, and inflammation-related factors. Particularly, deeper knowledge on the mechanisms and pathophysiology of most advanced PDR is critical. Lymphatic-like vessel formation coupled with abnormal endothelial differentiation and progenitor cell involvement in the neovascularization associated with PDR are novel recent findings which hold potential for improved DR treatment. Understanding the underlying mechanisms of PDR pathogenesis is therefore crucial. To this goal, multidisciplinary approaches and new ex vivo models have been developed for a more comprehensive molecular, cellular and tissue-level understanding of the disease. This is the first step to gain the needed information on how PDR can be better evaluated, stratified, and treated.
  • Hartiala, Pauliina; Suominen, Sinikka; Suominen, Erkki; Kaartinen, Ilkka; Kiiski, Juha; Viitanen, Tiina; Alitalo, Kari; Saarikko, Anne M. (2020)
    Objective: To study the safety and tolerability of Lymfactin (R) treatment combined with microvascular lymph node transfer surgery in patients with upper limb lymphedema. Background: Upper limb lymphedema is a common clinical challenge after breast cancer surgery and/or radiotherapy. Lymfactin (R) is an adenovirus type 5-based gene therapy involving expression of human vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C) in the damaged tissue. It aims to correct deficient lymphatic flow by promoting the growth and repair of lymphatic vessels. Methods: In Phase I, Lymfactin (R) was combined with microvascular lymph node transfer surgery to study the safety and tolerability of Lymfactin (R) and the biodistribution of the viral vector in patients with upper limb lymphedema. Results: Fifteen patients with breast cancer-associated secondary lymphedema of the upper arm were recruited between December 2016 and February 2018. Three patients received a lower dose (1 x 10(10)) and 12 a higher dose (1 x 10(11)) of viral particles, respectively. No dose-limiting toxicities were observed, and the study was completed with the pre-determined maximum dose. Commonly reported adverse events during the 12-month follow-up were common cold, fever, gastroenteritis, pain in the operation area, headache, muscle ache and elevated liver enzymes. Serious adverse events consisted of two erysipelas infections in the lymphedema arm (requiring hospitalization) and one hematoma of the flap donor site. Conclusions: After 12 months' follow-up, results indicate that Lymfactin (R) is well tolerated. The study continues with a 36-months efficacy and 5 years safety follow-up of the patients. The oncological safety aspects of Lymfactin (R) will require a longer follow-up period. (c) 2020 British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. Pub-lished by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license. (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)
  • Karaman, Sinem; Leppänen, Veli-Matti; Alitalo, Kari (2018)
    Vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) are best known for their involvement in orchestrating the development and maintenance of the blood and lymphatic vascular systems. VEGFs are secreted by a variety of cells and they bind to their cognate tyrosine kinase VEGF receptors (VEGFRs) in endothelial cells to elicit various downstream effects. In recent years, there has been tremendous progress in elucidating different VEGF/VEGFR signaling functions in both the blood and lymphatic vascular systems. Here, and in the accompanying poster, we present key elements of the VEGF/VEGFR pathway and highlight the classical and newly discovered functions of VEGF signaling in blood and lymphatic vessel development and pathology.
  • Nurmi, Harri; Saharinen, Pipsa; Zarkada, Georgia; Zheng, Wei; Robciuc, Marius R.; Alitalo, Kari (2015)
    Vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C) binding to its tyrosine kinase receptor VEGFR-3 drives lymphatic vessel growth during development and in pathological processes. Although the VEGF-C/VEGFR-3 pathway provides a target for treatment of cancer and lymphedema, the physiological functions of VEGF-C in adult vasculature are unknown. We show here that VEGF-C is necessary for perinatal lymphangiogenesis, but required for adult lymphatic vessel maintenance only in the intestine. Following Vegfc gene deletion in adult mice, the intestinal lymphatic vessels, including the lacteal vessels, underwent gradual atrophy, which was aggravated when also Vegfd was deleted. VEGF-C was expressed by a subset of smooth muscle cells adjacent to the lacteals in the villus and in the intestinal wall. TheVegfc-deleted mice showed defective lipid absorption and increased fecal excretion of dietary cholesterol and fatty acids. When fed a high-fat diet, the Vegfc-deficient mice were resistant to obesity and had improved glucose metabolism. Our findings indicate that the lymphangiogenic growth factors provide trophic and dynamic regulation of the intestinal lymphatic vasculature, which could be especially important in the dietary regulation of adiposity and cholesterol metabolism.
  • Vähämurto, Pauli (Helsingfors universitet, 2009)
    Selvitin tutkimuksessani VEGF-C:n ja RET:n vaikutusta hiiren enterisen hermoston ja imusuoniston kehitykseen. Yhden ja kahden VEGF-C-alleelin puutos johti neuronien määrän vähenemiseen jejunumissa ja koolonissa. RET-alleelien puutos vähensi myös neuronien määrää ja kahden puutos esti neuronien kehittymisen. VEGF-C ja etenkin RET-muuntogeenisiä alkioita oli myös hiiripoikueissa vähemmän kuin Mendelistisen jakauman perusteella voisi olettaa. Tämä viittaa lisääntyneeseen kuolleisuuteen in utero. Myös ihon karvatuppia oli RET-homogeenisissä vähemmän kuin villityyppisissä. Lisäksi selvitin mitkä vasta-aineet soveltuvat käytettäväksi suolten erityyppisissä vastaainevärjäyksissä