James W. Baish, Professor of Biomedical Engineering
The angiopoietin (Ang) ligands are potential therapeutic targets for lymphatic related diseases, which include lymphedema and cancer. Ang-1 and Ang-2 functions are established, but those of Ang-4 are poorly understood. We used intravital fluorescence microscopy to characterize Ang-4 actions on T241 murine fibrosarcoma-associated vessels in mice. The diameters of lymphatic vessels draining Ang-4- or VEGF-C (positive control)expressing tumors increased to 123 and 135 mu m, respectively, and parental, mock-transduced (negative controls) and tumors expressing Ang-1 or Ang-2 remained at baseline (similar to 60 mu m). Ang-4 decreased human dermal lymphatic endothelial cell (LEC) monolayer permeability by 27% while increasing human dermal blood endothelial cell (BEC) monolayer permeability by 200%. In vivo, Ang-4 stimulated a 4.5-fold increase in tumor-associated blood vessel permeability compared with control when measured using intravital quantitative multiphoton microscopy. Ang-4 activated receptor signaling in both LECs and BECs, evidenced by tyrosine kinase with Ig and endothelial growth factor homology domains-2 (TIE2) receptor, protein kinase B, and Erk1,2 phosphorylation detectable by immunoblotting. These data suggest that Ang-4 actions are mediated through cell-type-specific networks and that lymphatic vessel dilation occurs secondarily to increased vascular leakage. Ang-4 also promoted survival of LECs. Thus, blocking Ang-4 may prune the draining lymphatic vasculature and decrease interstitial fluid pressure (IFP) by reducing vascular permeability.
Kesler, Cristina T.; Pereira, Ethel R.; Cui, Cheryl H.; Nelson, Gregory M.; Masuck, David J.; Baish, James W.; and Padera, Timothy P. “Angiopoietin-4 Increases Permeability of Blood Vessels and Promotes Lymphatic Dilation.” FASEB Journal 29, no. 9 (2015) : 3668-3677.