The capacity of inducing angiogenesis is a recognized hallmark of cancer cells. The cancer microenvironment, characterized by hypoxia and inflammatory signals, promotes proliferation, migration and activation of quiescent endothelial cells (EC) from surrounding vascular network. Current anti-angiogenic drugs present side effects, temporary efficacy, and issues of primary resistance, thereby calling for the identification of new therapeutic targets. MICALs are a unique family of redox enzymes that destabilize F-actin in cytoskeletal dynamics. MICAL2 mediates Semaphorin3A-NRP2 response to VEGFR1 in rat ECs. MICAL2 also enters the p130Cas interactome in response to VEGF in HUVEC. Previously, we showed that MICAL2 is overexpressed in metastatic cancer. A small-molecule inhibitor of MICAL2 exists (CCG-1423). Here we report that 1) MICAL2 is expressed in neo-angiogenic ECs in human solid tumors (kidney and breast carcinoma, glioblastoma and cardiac myxoma, n = 67, were analyzed with immunohistochemistry) and in animal models of ischemia/inflammation neo-angiogenesis, but not in normal capillary bed; 2) MICAL2 protein pharmacological inhibition (CCG-1423) or gene KD reduce EC viability and functional performance; 3) MICAL2 KD disables ECs response to VEGF in vitro. Whole-genome gene expression profiling reveals MICAL2 involvement in angiogenesis and vascular development pathways. Based on these results, we propose that MICAL2 expression in ECs participates to inflammation-induced neo-angiogenesis and that MICAL2 inhibition should be tested in cancer- and noncancer-associated neo-angiogenesis, where chronic inflammation represents a relevant pathophysiological mechanism.
Keywords: CCG-1423; Cardiac myxoma; Glioblastoma; Inflammation; MICAL2; neo-angiogenesis.
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