Doctor of Philosophy, J W Goethe Universitat Frankfurt (2012)
Diploma, J W Goethe Universitat Frankfurt (2008)
Eugene Butcher, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
The cellular and molecular mechanisms of tumor angiogenesis and its prospects for anti-angiogenic cancer therapy are major issues in almost all current concepts of both cancer biology and targeted cancer therapy. Currently, (1) sprouting angiogenesis, (2) vascular co-option, (3) vascular intussusception, (4) vasculogenic mimicry, (5) bone marrow-derived vasculogenesis, (6) cancer stem-like cell-derived vasculogenesis and (7) myeloid cell-driven angiogenesis are all considered to contribute to tumor angiogenesis. Many of these processes have been described in developmental angiogenesis; however, the relative contribution and relevance of these in human brain cancer remain unclear. Preclinical tumor models support a role for sprouting angiogenesis, vascular co-option and myeloid cell-derived angiogenesis in glioma vascularization, whereas a role for the other four mechanisms remains controversial and rather enigmatic. The anti-angiogenesis drug Avastin (Bevacizumab), which targets VEGF, has become one of the most popular cancer drugs in the world. Anti-angiogenic therapy may lead to vascular normalization and as such facilitate conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy. However, preclinical and clinical studies suggest that anti-VEGF therapy using bevacizumab may also lead to a pro-migratory phenotype in therapy resistant glioblastomas and thus actively promote tumor invasion and recurrent tumor growth. This review focusses on (1) mechanisms of tumor angiogenesis in human malignant glioma that are of particular relevance for targeted therapy and (2) controversial issues in tumor angiogenesis such as cancer stem-like cell-derived vasculogenesis and bone-marrow-derived vasculogenesis.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00401-012-1066-5
View details for Web of Science ID 000311751700002
View details for PubMedID 23143192
In human inflammatory diseases, we identified endothelial angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) expression to be strongly associated with inflammations mediated by myeloid cells but not lymphocytes. To identify the underlying mechanism, we made use of a transgenic mouse model with inducible endothelial cell-specific expression of Ang-2. In this model, in the absence of inflammatory stimuli, long-term expression of Ang-2 led to a time-dependent accumulation of myeloid cells in numerous organs, suggesting that Ang-2 is sufficient to recruit myeloid cells. In models of acute inflammation, such as delayed-type hypersensitivity and peritonitis, Ang-2 transgenic animals showed an increased responsiveness. Intravital fluorescence video microscopy revealed augmented cell adhesion as an underlying event. Consequently, we demonstrated that Ang-2 is able to induce strong monocyte adhesion under shear in vitro, which could be blocked by antibodies to β₂-integrin. Taken together, our results describe Ang-2 as a novel, endothelial-derived regulator of myeloid cell infiltration that modulates β₂-integrin-mediated adhesion in a paracrine manner.
View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2011-03-343293
View details for Web of Science ID 000296714500036
View details for PubMedID 21868579
Angiopoietin 2 (ANGPT2) is a proangiogenic cytokine whose expression is often upregulated by endothelial cells in tumors. Expression of its receptor, TIE2, defines a highly proangiogenic subpopulation of myeloid cells in circulation and tumors called TIE2-expressing monocytes/macrophages (TEMs). Genetic depletion of TEMs markedly reduces tumor angiogenesis in various tumor models, emphasizing their essential role in driving tumor progression. Previously, we demonstrated that ANGPT2 augments the expression of various proangiogenic genes, the potent immunosuppressive cytokine, IL-10, and a chemokine for regulatory T cells (Tregs), CCL17 by TEMs in vitro. We now show that TEMs also express higher levels of IL-10 than TIE2(-) macrophages in tumors and that ANGPT2-stimulated release of IL-10 by TEMs suppresses T cell proliferation, increases the ratio of CD4(+) T cells to CD8(+) T cells, and promotes the expansion of CD4(+)CD25(high)FOXP3(+) Tregs. Furthermore, syngeneic murine tumors expressing high levels of ANGPT2 contained not only high numbers of TEMs but also increased numbers of Tregs, whereas genetic depletion of tumor TEMs resulted in a marked reduction in the frequency of Tregs in tumors. Taken together, our data suggest that ANGPT2-stimulated TEMs represent a novel, potent immunosuppressive force in tumors.
View details for DOI 10.4049/jimmunol.1002802
View details for Web of Science ID 000288751200043
View details for PubMedID 21368233
TIE2-expressing monocytes/macrophages (TEM) are a highly proangiogenic subset of myeloid cells in tumors. Here, we show that circulating human TEMs are already preprogrammed in the circulation to be more angiogenic and express higher levels of such proangiogenic genes as matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), VEGFA, COX-2, and WNT5A than TIE2(-) monocytes. Additionally, angiopoietin-2 (ANG-2) markedly enhanced the proangiogenic activity of TEMs and increased their expression of two proangiogenic enzymes: thymidine phosphorylase (TP) and cathepsin B (CTSB). Three "alternatively activated" (or M2-like) macrophage markers were also upregulated by ANG-2 in TEMs: interleukin-10, mannose receptor (MRC1), and CCL17. To investigate the effects of ANG-2 on the phenotype and function of TEMs in tumors, we used a double-transgenic (DT) mouse model in which ANG-2 was specifically overexpressed by endothelial cells. Syngeneic tumors grown in these ANG-2 DT mice were more vascularized and contained greater numbers of TEMs than those in wild-type (WT) mice. In both tumor types, expression of MMP-9 and MRC1 was mainly restricted to tumor TEMs rather than TIE2(-) macrophages. Furthermore, tumor TEMs expressed higher levels of MRC1, TP, and CTSB in ANG-2 DT tumors than WT tumors. Taken together, our data show that although circulating TEMs are innately proangiogenic, exposure to tumor-derived ANG-2 stimulates these cells to exhibit a broader, tumor-promoting phenotype. As such, the ANG-2-TEM axis may represent a new target for antiangiogenic cancer therapies.
View details for DOI 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-0012
View details for Web of Science ID 000279396800010
View details for PubMedID 20530679
MicroRNAs are endogenously expressed small noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression on the posttranscriptional level. The miR-17-92 cluster (encoding miR-17, -18a, -19a/b, -20a, and miR-92a) is highly expressed in tumor cells and is up-regulated by ischemia. Whereas miR-92a was recently identified as negative regulator of angiogenesis, the specific functions of the other members of the cluster are less clear. Here we demonstrate that overexpression of miR-17, -18a, -19a, and -20a significantly inhibited 3-dimensional spheroid sprouting in vitro, whereas inhibition of miR-17, -18a, and -20a augmented endothelial cell sprout formation. Inhibition of miR-17 and miR-20a in vivo using antagomirs significantly increased the number of perfused vessels in Matrigel plugs, whereas antagomirs that specifically target miR-18a and miR-19a were less effective. However, systemic inhibition of miR-17/20 did not affect tumor angiogenesis. Further mechanistic studies showed that miR-17/20 targets several proangiogenic genes. Specifically, Janus kinase 1 was shown to be a direct target of miR-17. In summary, we show that miR-17/20 exhibit a cell-intrinsic antiangiogenic activity in endothelial cells. Inhibition of miR-17/20 specifically augmented neovascularization of Matrigel plugs but did not affect tumor angiogenesis indicating a context-dependent regulation of angiogenesis by miR-17/20 in vivo.
View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2010-01-264812
View details for Web of Science ID 000278635900044
View details for PubMedID 20299512
Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (VEGFR-1) is highly expressed in endothelial cells and regulates developmental angiogenesis by acting as a decoy receptor and trapping VEGF-A. Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 is also expressed in monocytes and macrophages; mice lacking the VEGFR-1 tyrosine kinase (TK) domain (VEGFR-1 TK mice) display impaired macrophage function. Because macrophages are recruited to sites of cerebral ischemic infarcts, we hypothesized that lack of VEGFR-1 TK in bone marrow(BM) cells would affect the outcome in an experimental stroke model. We performed BM transplantation experiments in C57BL/6J mice using VEGFR-1 TK and VEGFR-1 TK mice as BM donors and analyzed cell infiltration after cerebral ischemia. There was reduced initial recruitment of VEGFR-1 TK myeloid cells into the infarcted tissue and reduced postischemic angiogenesis at 3days postischemia. By 10 days, the numbers of infiltrating cells and the densities of vessels in the infarct peri-infarct zone were similar for both groups. Neither infarct size at 3 and 10 days postischemia nor neurological performance at 24 hours was different between the experimental groups. These results support a role of VEGFR-1 signaling in the early regulation of BM infiltration and angiogenesis after brain ischemia.
View details for Web of Science ID 000274114600005
View details for PubMedID 20084017