Author(s): AbdelMajid RM, Marshall JS
Mast cells accumulate in large numbers at angiogenic sites, where they have been shown to express a number of proangiogenic factors, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-A). PGE(2) is known to strongly promote angiogenesis and is found in increased levels at sites of chronic inflammation and around solid tumors. The expression pattern of VEGF and the regulation of VEGF-A by PGE(2) were examined in cord blood-derived human mast cells (CBMC). CBMC expressed mRNA for five isoforms of VEGF-A and other members of the VEGF family (VEGF-B, VEGF-C, and VEGF-D) with strong expression of the most potent secretory isoforms. PGE(2) was a very strong inducer of VEGF-A(121/165) production by CBMC and also elevated VEGF-A mRNA expression. The amount of VEGF-A(121/165) protein production induced by PGE(2) was 4-fold greater than that induced by IgE-mediated activation of CBMC. Moreover, the response to PGE(2) as well as to other cAMP-elevating agents such as forskolin and salbutamol was observed under conditions that were not associated with mast cell degranulation. CBMC expressed substantial levels of the EP(2) receptor, but not the EP(4) receptor, when examined by flow cytometry. In contrast to other reported PGE(2)-mediated effects on mast cells, VEGF-A(121/165) production occurred via activation of the EP(2) receptor. These data suggest a role for human mast cells as a potent source of VEGF(121/165) in the absence of degranulation, and may provide new opportunities to regulate angiogenesis at mast cell-rich sites.