Hypoxia Regulates the Expression of Vascular Permeability Factor/Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VPF/VEGF) and its Receptors in Human Skin

Detmar, Michael; Brown, Lawrence F.; Berse, Brygida; Jackman, Robert W.; Elicker, Brett M.; Dvorak, Harold F.; Claffey, Kevin P.
March 1997
Journal of Investigative Dermatology;Mar1997, Vol. 108 Issue 3, p263
Academic Journal
Tissue hypoxia is a characteristic feature of malignant tumors and healing wounds, conditions that are associated with angiogenesis and with increased expression of vascular permeability factor (VPF; also called vascular endothelial growth factor, VEGF), a selective endothelial cell mitogen inducing microvascular hyperpermeability in vivo. We investigated the regulation of VPF/VEGF and its receptors by tissue hypoxia in normal human skin explants and in cultured skin cells in vitro. VPF/VEGF mRNA expression was dramatically upregulated in epidermal keratinocytes, dermal fihroblasts, and dermal microvessels after 24 h of skin organ culture. Hypoxia also enhanced the expression of VPF/VEGF in cultured epidermal keratinocytes and dermal microvascular endothelial cells (predominantly VPF/VEGF121 and V-PF/VEGF165) and in dermal fibroblasts (additional upregulation of VPF/VEGF189). The expression of the VPF/VEGF receptor Fit-1 was selectively induced on dermal microvessels in skin explant cultures and in dermal endothelial cell monolayer cultures under hypoxic conditions. In contrast, the KDR receptor was downregulated by hypoxia. These results suggest that hypoxia likely regulates cutaneous angiogenesis and mierovascular permeability by two distinct mechanisms: (i) Induction of VPF/VEGF in epithelial and mesenchymal cells, including endothelial cells. (ii) Differential modulation of VPF/VEGF receptor expression by microvascular endothelial cells. These mechanisms may be of importance in the pathogenesis of healing wounds and some malignant tumors that are commonly characterized by hypoxia and overexpression of VPF/VEGF.


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