Oncotarget

Research Papers:

Modulation of cerebral endothelial cell function by TGF-β in glioblastoma: VEGF-dependent angiogenesis versus endothelial mesenchymal transition

Shanmugarajan Krishnan _, Emese Szabo, Isabel Burghardt, Karl Frei, Ghazaleh Tabatabai and Michael Weller

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:22480-22495. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.4310

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Abstract

Shanmugarajan Krishnan1, Emese Szabo1, Isabel Burghardt1, Karl Frei2, Ghazaleh Tabatabai1,3, Michael Weller1

1Laboratory of Molecular Neuro-Oncology, Department of Neurology and Neuroscience Center, University Hospital and University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

2Laboratory of Molecular Neuro-Oncology, Department of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience Center, University Hospital and University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

3Interdisciplinary Division of Neuro-Oncology, Departments of Vascular Neurology and Neurosurgery, University Hospital Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany

Correspondence to:

Michael Weller, e-mail: michael.weller@usz.ch

Keywords: angiogenesis, glioblastoma, TGF-β, VEGF, PlGF

Received: January 26, 2015     Accepted: June 03, 2015     Published: June 15, 2015

ABSTRACT

Glioblastoma are among the most angiogenic tumors. The molecular mechanisms that control blood vessel formation by endothelial cells (EC) in glioblastoma remain incompletely understood. Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) is a key regulatory cytokine that has proinvasive and stemness-maintaining autocrine properties in glioblastoma and confers immunosuppression to the tumor microenvironment. Here we characterize potential pro- and anti-angiogenic activities of TGF-β in the context of glioblastoma in vitro, using human brain-derived microvascular endothelial cells (hCMEC/D3) and glioblastoma-derived endothelial cells (GMEC) as model systems. We find that TGF-β induces vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and placental growth factor (PlGF) mRNA expression and protein release in a TGF-β receptor (TβR) II / activin-like kinase (ALK)-5-dependent manner under normoxia and hypoxia, defining potential indirect proangiogenic activity of TGF-β in glioblastoma. In parallel, exogenous TGF-β has also inhibitory effects on EC properties and induces endothelial-mesenchymal transition (EndMT) in hCMEC and GMEC. Accordingly, direct inhibition of endogenous TGF-β/ALK-5 signalling increases EC properties such as tube formation, von-Willebrand factor (vWF) and claudin (CLDN) 5 expression. Yet, the supernatant of TGF-β-stimulated hCMEC and GMEC strongly promotes EC-related gene expression and tube formation in a cediranib-sensitive manner. These observations shed light on the complex pro- and anti-angiogenic pathways involving the cross-talk between TGF-β and VEGF/PLGF signalling in glioblastoma which may involve parallel stimulation of angiogenesis and EndMT in distinct target cell populations.


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