Recent studies have implicated endogenously produced H2S in the angiogenic process. On one hand, pharmacological inhibition and silencing of the enzymes involved in H2S synthesis attenuate the angiogenic properties of endothelial cells, including proliferation, migration and tube-like structure network formation. On the other hand, enhanced production of H2S by substrate supplementation or over-expression of H2S-producing enzymes leads to enhanced angiogenic responses in cultured endothelial cells. Importantly, H2S up-regulates expression of the key angiogenic factor vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and contributes to the angiogenic signaling in response to VEGF. The signaling pathways mediating H2S-induced angiogenesis include mitogen-activated protein kinases, phosphoinositide-3 kinase, nitric oxide/cGMP-regulated cascades and ATP-sensitive potassium channels. Endogenously produced H2S has also been shown to facilitate neovascularization in prototypical model systems in vivo, and to contribute to wound healing, post-ischemic angiogenesis in the heart and other tissues, as well as in tumor angiogenesis. Targeting of H2S synthesizing enzymes might offer novel therapeutic opportunities for angiogenesis-related diseases.
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