We have observed that the vasoactive peptide endothelin-1 is a potent inducer of migration of primary human brain-derived microvascular endothelial cells. By blocking signal transduction pathways with specific inhibitors, and using dominant negative mutant infections, we have demonstrated that multiple pathways are involved in endothelin-1-induced migration. Absolutely required for migration are protein tyrosine kinase Src, Ras, protein kinase C (PKC), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, ERK, and JNK; partial requirements were exhibited by cAMP-activated protein kinase and p38 kinase. Partial elucidation of the signal transduction sequences showed that the MAPKs ERK, JNK, and p38 are positioned downstream of both PKC and cAMP-activated protein kinase in the signal transduction scheme. The results show that human brain endothelial cell migration has distinct characteristics, different from cells derived from other vascular beds, or from other species, often used as model systems. Furthermore, the results indicate that endothelin-1, secreted by many tumors, is an important contributor to tumor-produced proangiogenic microenvironment. This growth factor has been associated with increased microvessel density in tumors and is responsible for endothelial cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and tubule formation. Because many signal transduction pathways investigated in this study are potential or current targets for anti-angiogenesis therapy, these results are of critical importance for designing physiological antiangiogenic protocols.
- Signal transduction
- Vasoactive peptides