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The American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Year: 2010  |  Volume: 299  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 1468 - 1484

PECAM-1 regulates proangiogenic properties of endothelial cells through modulation of cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions

S Park, T. A DiMaio, E. A Scheef, C. M Sorenson and N. Sheibani    


Platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1/CD31) is a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily of cell adhesion molecules with important roles in angiogenesis and inflammation. However, the molecular and cellular mechanisms, and the role that specific PECAM-1 isoforms play in these processes, remain elusive. We recently showed attenuation of retinal vascular development and neovascularization in PECAM-1-deficient (PECAM-1–/–) mice. To gain further insight into the role of PECAM-1 in these processes, we isolated primary retinal endothelial cells (EC) from wild-type (PECAM-1+/+) and PECAM-1–/– mice. Lack of PECAM-1 had a significant impact on endothelial cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, resulting in attenuation of cell migration and capillary morphogenesis. Mechanistically these changes were associated with a significant decrease in expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability in PECAM-1–/– retinal EC. PECAM-1–/– retinal EC also exhibited a lower rate of apoptosis under basal and challenged conditions, consistent with their increased growth rate. Furthermore, reexpression of PECAM-1 was sufficient to restore migration and capillary morphogenesis of null cells in an isoform-specific manner. Thus PECAM-1 expression modulates proangiogenic properties of EC, and these activities are significantly influenced by alternative splicing of its cytoplasmic domain.

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