In order to verify whether tenascin-C (TN-C) is involved in angiogenesis as an extracellular signal molecule during tumorigenesis, cancerous cell transplantation experiments and coculture experiments were carried out, focusing on the regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The A375 human melanoma cells introduced the GFP gene (A375-GFP), implanted subcutaneously into BALB/cA nude (WT) and TN-C knockout BALB/cA nude (TNKO) congenic mice. Furthermore, coculture experiments between A375-GFP and embryonic mesenchyme, which was prepared from both genotypes, were carried out to investigate the molecular mechanism in the cell-cell interactions. Both the content of TN-C and that of VEGF in the tumor and the conditioned medium were analyzed by the sandwich ELISA method. Seven days after transplantation of the A375-GFP, capillary nets became far more abundant in the tumors grown in WT mice than those in TNKO mice. Interestingly, VEGF and TN-C expressions showed antithetical expression patterns between the tumors in WT mice and those in TNKO mice. This peculiar phenomenon seems to be caused by a time lag prior to the onset of the mesenchymal regulation for the TN-C expression of A375-GFP. The coculture experiments revealed that WT mesenchyme had a much stronger effect than TNKO mesenchyme on both TN-C and VEGF expression. However, the defects of TNKO mesenchyme were restored in all cases by additional TN-C. These results clearly indicated that the expressions of both TN-C and VEGF depend on the surrounding mesenchyme, and that the function of mesenchyme is regulated by its own mesenchymal TN-C. In conclusion, the present data suggest that the matrix microenvironment organized by the host mesenchyme is very important for angiogenesis in tumor development.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.