Involvement of vascular endothelial growth factor signaling in CLR/RAMP1 and CLR/RAMP2-mediated pro-angiogenic effect of intermedin on human vascular endothelial cells

Giovanna Albertin, Elisa Sorato, Barbara Oselladore, Alessandra Mascarin, Cinzia Tortorella, Diego Guidolin
International Journal of Molecular Medicine 2010, 26 (2): 289-94
Intermedin (IMD) is a recently discovered peptide closely related to adrenomedullin. Its principal physiological activity is its role in the regulation of the cardiovascular system, where it exerts a potent hypotensive effect. In addition, data were recently provided showing that this peptide is able to exert a clearcut pro-angiogenic effect both in vitro and in vivo. IMD acts through the non-selective interaction with receptor complexes formed by the dimerization of calcitonin-like receptor (CLR) with the receptor activity-modifying proteins RAMP1, 2 or 3. Thus, in the present study, the role of CLR/RAMP complexes in mediating the pro-angiogenic effect induced by IMD on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) cultured on Matrigel was examined. Real-time PCR demonstrated the expression of IMD, CLR/RAMP1 and CLR/RAMP2 (but not CLR/RAMP3) mRNA in HUVECs. IMD exerted a significant in vitro angiogenic action, specifically triggered by the binding of the peptide to CLR/RAMP complexes. Both CLR/RAMP1 and CLR/RAMP2 appeared to mediate the pro-angiogenic effect, which was associated with a significant increase of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) mRNA expression 18 h following IMD administration, indicating that the observed pro-angiogenic effects are related, at least in part, to an increased synthesis of this growth factor promoted by the peptide. Western blot analysis, however, showed a significant increase of VEGF receptor-2 phosphorylation as early as 5 min following IMD administration, indicating that IMD induces a pro-angiogenic response in human vascular endothelial cells not only via CLR/RAMP-induced release of VEGF, but also during signal initiation and propagation by transactivating the VEGF receptor-2 machinery.

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