Objective: To elucidate the downstream mechanisms of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2), a key receptor in angiogenesis, which has been associated with atherosclerotic plaque growth and instability.
Methods and results: By using a yeast-2-hybrid assay, we identified A Disintegrin And Metalloprotease 10 (ADAM10) as a novel binding partner of VEGFR2. ADAM10 is a metalloprotease with sheddase activity involved in cell migration; however, its exact function in endothelial cells (ECs), angiogenesis, and atherosclerosis is largely unknown. For the first time to our knowledge, we show ADAM10 expression in human atherosclerotic lesions, associated with plaque progression and neovascularization. We demonstrate ADAM10 expression and activity in ECs to be induced by VEGF; also, ADAM10 mediates the ectodomain shedding of VEGFR2. Furthermore, VEGF induces ADAM10-mediated cleavage of vascular endothelium (VE)-cadherin, which could increase vascular permeability and facilitate EC migration. Indeed, VEGF increases vascular permeability in an ADAM10- and ADAM17-dependent way; inhibition of ADAM10 reduces EC migration and chemotaxis.
Conclusions: These data provide the first evidence of ADAM10 expression in atherosclerosis and neovascularization. ADAM10 plays a functional role in VEGF-induced EC function. These data open perspectives for novel therapeutic interventions in vascular diseases.