Anti-chemorepulsive effects of vascular endothelial growth factor and placental growth factor-2 in dorsal root ganglion neurons are mediated via neuropilin-1 and cyclooxygenase-derived prostanoid production

Lili Cheng, Haiyan Jia, Marianne Löhr, Azadeh Bagherzadeh, David I R Holmes, David Selwood, Ian Zachary
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2004 July 16, 279 (29): 30654-61
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) displays neurotrophic and neuroprotective activities, but the mechanisms underlying these effects have not been defined. Neuropilin-1 (NP-1) is a receptor for VEGF165 and placental growth factor-2 (PlGF-2), but the role of NP-1 in VEGF-dependent neurotrophic actions is unclear. Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons expressed high levels of NP-1 mRNA and protein, much lower levels of KDR, and no detectable Flt-1. VEGF165 and PlGF-2 promoted DRG growth cone formation with an effect similar to that of nerve growth factor, whereas the Flt-1-specific ligand, PlGF-1, and the KDR/Flt-4 ligand, VEGF-D, had no effect. The chemorepellent NP-1 ligand, semaphorin 3A, antagonized the response to VEGF and PlGF-2. The specific KDR inhibitor, SU5614, did not affect the anti-chemorepellent effects of VEGF and PlGF-2, whereas a novel, specific antagonist of VEGF binding to NP-1, called EG3287, prevented inhibition of growth cone collapse. VEGF stimulated prostacyclin and prostaglandin E2 production in DRG cultures that was blocked by inhibitors of cyclooxygenases; the anti-chemorepellent activities of VEGF and PlGF-2 were abrogated by cyclooxygenase inhibitors, and a variety of prostacyclin analogues and prostaglandins strikingly inhibited growth cone collapse. These findings support a specific role for NP-1 in mediating neurotrophic actions of VEGF family members and also identify a novel role for prostanoids in the inhibition of neuronal chemorepulsion.

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