cAMP-Response Element–Binding Protein Mediates the Proangiogenic or Proinflammatory Activity of Gremlin
Objective—Angiogenesis and inflammation are closely related processes. Gremlin is a novel noncanonical vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR2) ligand that induces a proangiogenic response in endothelial cells (ECs). Here, we investigated the role of the cAMP-response element (CRE)–binding protein (CREB) in mediating the proinflammatory and proangiogenic responses of ECs to gremlin.
Approach and Results—Gremlin induces a proinflammatory response in ECs, leading to reactive oxygen species and cAMP production and the upregulation of proinflammatory molecules involved in leukocyte extravasation, including chemokine (C-C motif) ligand-2 (Ccl2) and Ccl7, chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand-1 (Cxcl1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1). Accordingly, gremlin induces the VEGFR2-dependent phosphorylation, nuclear translocation, and transactivating activity of CREB in ECs. CREB activation mediates the early phases of the angiogenic response to gremlin, including stimulation of EC motility and permeability, and leads to monocyte/macrophage adhesion to ECs and their extravasation. All these effects are inhibited by EC transfection with a dominant-negative CREB mutant and with a CBP–CREB interaction inhibitor that competes for CREB/CRE binding. Also, both recombinant gremlin and gremlin-expressing tumor cells induce proinflammatory/proangiogenic responses in vivo that are suppressed by the anti-inflammatory drug hydrocortisone. Similar effects were induced by the canonical VEGFR2 ligand VEGF-A165.
Conclusions—Together, the results underline the tight cross-talk between angiogenesis and inflammation and demonstrate a crucial role of CREB activation in the modulation of the VEGFR2-mediated proinflammatory/proangiogenic response of ECs to gremlin.
- Received June 3, 2013.
- Accepted October 28, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.