Cancer therapy modulates VEGF signaling and viability in adult rat cardiac microvascular endothelial cells and cardiomyocytes

Chiusa, Manuel; Hool, Sara-Lynn; Truetsch, Petra; Djafarzadeh, Siamak; Jakob, Stephan M; Seifriz, Franziska; Scherer, Stefan J; Suter, Thomas M; Zuppinger, Christian; Zbinden, Stephan (2012). Cancer therapy modulates VEGF signaling and viability in adult rat cardiac microvascular endothelial cells and cardiomyocytes. Journal of molecular and cellular cardiology, 52(5), pp. 1164-75. Oxford: Elsevier 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2012.01.022

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This work was motivated by the incomplete characterization of the role of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) in the stressed heart in consideration of upcoming cancer treatment options challenging the natural VEGF balance in the myocardium. We tested, if the cytotoxic cancer therapy doxorubicin (Doxo) or the anti-angiogenic therapy sunitinib alters viability and VEGF signaling in primary cardiac microvascular endothelial cells (CMEC) and adult rat ventricular myocytes (ARVM). ARVM were isolated and cultured in serum-free medium. CMEC were isolated from the left ventricle and used in the second passage. Viability was measured by LDH-release and by MTT-assay, cellular respiration by high-resolution oxymetry. VEGF-A release was measured using a rat specific VEGF-A ELISA-kit. CMEC were characterized by marker proteins including CD31, von Willebrand factor, smooth muscle actin and desmin. Both Doxo and sunitinib led to a dose-dependent reduction of cell viability. Sunitinib treatment caused a significant reduction of complex I and II-dependent respiration in cardiomyocytes and the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential in CMEC. Endothelial cells up-regulated VEGF-A release after peroxide or Doxo treatment. Doxo induced HIF-1α stabilization and upregulation at clinically relevant concentrations of the cancer therapy. VEGF-A release was abrogated by the inhibition of the Erk1/2 or the MAPKp38 pathway. ARVM did not answer to Doxo-induced stress conditions by the release of VEGF-A as observed in CMEC. VEGF receptor 2 amounts were reduced by Doxo and by sunitinib in a dose-dependent manner in both CMEC and ARVM. In conclusion, these data suggest that cancer therapy with anthracyclines modulates VEGF-A release and its cellular receptors in CMEC and ARVM, and therefore alters paracrine signaling in the myocardium.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesiology (DINA) > Clinic of Intensive Care
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Cardiovascular Disorders (DHGE) > Clinic of Cardiology

UniBE Contributor:

Djafarzadeh, Siamak; Jakob, Stephan; Suter, Thomas; Zuppinger, Christian and Zbinden, Stephan








Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:21

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:06

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URI: (FactScience: 212005)

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