Endothelial cell survival is indispensable to maintain endothelial integrity and initiate new vessel formation. We investigated the role of SHP-2 in endothelial cell survival and angiogenesis in vitro as well as in vivo. SHP-2 function in cultured human umbilical vein and human dermal microvascular endothelial cells was inhibited by either silencing the protein expression with antisense-oligodesoxynucleotides or treatment with a pharmacological inhibitor (PtpI IV). SHP-2 inhibition impaired capillary-like structure formation (p < 0.01; n = 8) in vitro as well as new vessel growth ex vivo(p < 0.05; n = 10) and in vivo in the chicken chorioallantoic membrane (p < 0.01, n = 4). Additionally, SHP-2 knock-down abrogated fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2)-dependent endothelial proliferation measured by MTT reduction (p < 0.01; n = 12). The inhibitory effect of SHP-2 knock-down on vessel growth was mediated by increased endothelial apoptosis (annexin V staining, p < 0.05, n = 9), which was associated with reduced FGF-2-induced phosphorylation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K), Akt and extracellular regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) and involved diminished ERK1/2 phosphorylation after PI3-K inhibition (n = 3). These results suggest that SHP-2 regulates endothelial cell survival through PI3-K-Akt and mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways thereby strongly affecting new vessel formation. Thus, SHP-2 exhibits a pivotal role in angiogenesis and may represent an interesting target for therapeutic approaches controlling vessel growth.
Copyright (c) 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.