Lymphocytes have been shown to modulate angiogenesis. Our previous work showed that T regulatory (Treg) cell depletion prevented angiogenesis. In the present study, we sought to examine T-cell populations during lung angiogenesis and subsequent angiostasis. In a mouse model of ischemia-induced systemic angiogenesis in the lung, we examined the time course (0-35 d) of neovascularization and T-cell phenotypes within the lung after left pulmonary artery ligation (LPAL). T cells increased and reached a maximum by 10 days after LPAL and then progressively decreased, suggestive of a modulatory role during the early phase of new vessel growth. Because others have shown IFN-γ to be angiostatic in tumor models, we focused on this effector T-cell cytokine to control the magnitude of angiogenesis. Results showed that IFN-γ protein is secreted at low levels after LPAL and that mice required Treg depletion to see the full effect of effector T cells. Using Foxp3(DTR) and diphtheria toxin to deplete T regulatory cells, increased numbers of effector T cells (CD8(+)) and/or increased capacity to secrete the prominent angiostatic cytokine IFN-γ (CD4(+)) were seen. In vitro culture of mouse systemic and pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells with IFN-γ showed increased endothelial cell apoptosis. CD8(-/-) mice and IFN-γR(-/-) mice showed enhanced angiogenesis compared with wild-type mice, confirming that, in this model, IFN-γ limits the extent of systemic neovascularization in the lung.
Keywords: IFN-γ; angiogenesis; angiostasis; ischemia; regulatory T-cells.