BMP-9 induces proliferation of multiple types of endothelial cells in vitro and in vivo

Yuka Suzuki, Noritaka Ohga, Yasuyuki Morishita, Kyoko Hida, Kohei Miyazono, Tetsuro Watabe
Journal of Cell Science 2010 May 15, 123: 1684-92
Members of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) family have been implicated in the development and maintenance of vascular systems. Whereas members of the BMP-2/4 and osteogenic protein-1 groups signal via activin receptor-like kinase (ALK)-2, ALK-3 and ALK-6, BMP-9 and BMP-10 have been reported to bind to ALK-1 in endothelial cells. However, the roles of BMP-9-ALK-1 signaling in the regulation of endothelial cells have not yet been fully elucidated. Here, using various systems, we examined the effects of BMP-9 on the proliferation of endothelial cells. Vascular-tube formation from ex vivo allantoic explants of mouse embryos was promoted by BMP-9. BMP-9, as well as BMP-4 and BMP-6, also induced the proliferation of in-vitro-cultured mouse embryonic-stem-cell-derived endothelial cells (MESECs) by inducing the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 and Tie2, a receptor for angiopoietin-1. A decrease in ALK-1 expression or expression of constitutively active ALK-1 in MESECs abrogated and mimicked the effects of BMP-9 on the proliferation of MESECs, respectively, suggesting that BMP-9 promotes the proliferation of these cells via ALK-1. Furthermore, in vivo angiogenesis was promoted by BMP-9 in a Matrigel plug assay and in a BxPC3 xenograft model of human pancreatic cancer. Consistent with these in vivo findings, BMP-9 enhanced the proliferation of in-vitro-cultured normal endothelial cells from dermal tissues of adult mice and of tumor-associated endothelial cells isolated from tumor xenografts in host mice. These findings suggest that BMP-9 signaling activates the endothelium tested in the present study via ALK-1.

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