The integrins alpha(vbeta3) and alpha(vbeta5) have been implicated in playing a key role in the process of angiogenesis. In this study, we examined the effects of hypoxia, an important stimulus of angiogenesis, on the differential expression of the integrin subunits beta(3) and beta(5). beta(3) and beta(5) messenger RNA (mRNA), protein levels, and alpha(v)beta(3) function were measured in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) cultured under normoxic and hypoxic (1% O(2)) conditions. Cells exposed to hypoxic conditions for up to 72 h showed gradually increased mRNA levels of alpha(V) and beta(3), peaking at 24 h, in comparison with cells cultured under normoxic conditions. However, beta(5) mRNA levels, under the same hypoxic conditions, remained at a constant level. Results from Western blot analysis of HUVECs, cultured under hypoxic conditions, paralleled those of the Northern analysis with an increased expression in alpha(v)beta(3) protein levels, measured by blotting with LM609, evident by 24 h. alpha(v)beta(5) protein levels, measured by blotting with P1F6, did not change for up to 72 h. HUVECs cultured under hypoxic conditions for 72 h showed increased attachment to fibrinogen, an alpha(v)beta(3) mediated process. These results indicate that hypoxia can increase expression of alpha(v)beta(3) in HUVECs, and that hypoxic regulation of alpha(v)beta(3) may be an important regulator of angiogenesis.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.