BMP9 Induces Cord Blood–Derived Endothelial Progenitor Cell Differentiation and Ischemic Neovascularization via ALK1

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.115.306142

Jihye Kim, Minhyung Kim, Yoonjeong Jeong, Wook-bin Lee, Hyojin Park, Ja-Young Kwon, Young-Myeong Kim, Daehee Hwang, Young-Guen Kwon.

Received: 27 March 2014; Accepted: 20 July 2015; Published: 30 July 2015.

Abstract
Objective—Modulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) is essential for therapeutic angiogenesis, and thus various clinical trials involving EPCs are ongoing. However, the identification of environmental conditions and development of optimal methods are required to accelerate EPC-driven vasculogenesis.

Approach and Results—We evaluated gene expression profiles of cord blood–derived EPCs and endothelial cells to identify the key factors in EPC→endothelial cell differentiation and to show that transforming growth factor-β family members contribute to EPC differentiation. The expression levels of activin receptor-like kinase 1 (ALK1) and its high-affinity ligand, bone morphogenetic protein 9 (BMP9) were markedly changed in EPC→endothelial cell differentiation. Interestingly, BMP9 induced EPC→endothelial cell differentiation and EPC incorporation into vessel-like structures by acting on ALK1 expressed on EPCs in vitro. BMP9 also induced neovascularization in mice with hindlimb ischemia by increasing vessel formation and the incorporation of EPCs into vessels. Conversely, neovascularization was impaired when ALK1 signaling was blocked. Furthermore, EPCs exposed to either short- or long-term BMP9 stimulation demonstrated these functions in EPC-mediated neovascularization.

Conclusions—Collectively, our results indicated that BMP9/ALK1 augmented vasculogenesis and angiogenesis, and thereby enhanced neovascularization. Thus, we suggest that BMP9/ALK1 may improve the efficacy of EPC-based therapies for treating ischemic diseases.

Keywords: activin receptors; endothelial cells; endothelial progenitor cells; growth differentiation factor 2; ischemia; neovascularization; pathologic

Link: http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/35/9/2020.short