Background: Right ventricular (RV) angiogenesis has been associated with adaptive myocardial remodeling in pulmonary hypertension (PH), though molecular regulators are poorly defined. Endothelial cell VEGFR-2 is considered a "master regulator" of angiogenesis in other models, and the small molecule VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor SU5416 is commonly used to generate PH in rodents. We hypothesized that SU5416, through direct effects on cardiac endothelial cell VEGFR-2, would attenuate RV angiogenesis in a murine model of PH. Methods: C57 BL/6 mice were exposed to chronic hypoxia (CH-PH) to generate PH and stimulate RV angiogenesis. SU5416 (20 mg/kg) or vehicle were administered at the start of the CH exposure, and weekly thereafter. Angiogenesis was measured after one week of CH-PH using a combination of unbiased stereological measurements and flow cytometry-based quantification of myocardial endothelial cell proliferation. In complementary experiments, primary cardiac endothelial cells from C57 BL/6 mice were exposed to recombinant VEGF (50 ng/mL) or grown on Matrigel in the presence of SU5416 (5 μM) or vehicle. Result: SU5416 directly inhibited VEGF-mediated ERK phosphorylation, cell proliferation, and Kdr transcription, but not Matrigel tube formation in primary murine cardiac endothelial cells in vitro. SU5416 did not inhibit CH-PH induced RV angiogenesis, endothelial cell proliferation, or RV hypertrophy in vivo, despite significantly altering the expression profile of genes involved in angiogenesis. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that SU5416 directly inhibited VEGF-induced proliferation of murine cardiac endothelial cells but does not attenuate CH-PH induced RV angiogenesis or myocardial remodeling in vivo.
- Cardiac endothelial cell
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Right ventricle
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine