VEGF and FGF prime vascular tube morphogenesis and sprouting directed by hematopoietic stem cell cytokines

Amber N. Stratman, Michael J. Davis, George E. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Scopus citations


Here, we demonstrate a novel, directacting, and synergistic role for 3 hematopoietic stem cell cytokines: stem cell factor, interleukin-3, and stromal derived factor-1α, in controlling human endothelial cell (EC) tube morphogenesis, sprouting, and pericyte-induced tube maturation under defined serum-free conditions in 3-dimensional matrices. Angiogenic cytokines such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and fibroblast growth factor (FGF) alone or VEGF/FGF combinations do not support these responses. In contrast, VEGF and FGF prime EC responses to hematopoietic cytokines via up-regulation of c-Kit, IL-3Rα, and C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 from either human ECs or embryonic quail vessel explants. In support of these findings, EC Runx1 is demonstrated to be critical in coordinating vascular morphogenic responses by controlling hematopoietic cytokine receptor expression. Combined blockade of hematopoietic cytokines or their receptors in vivo leads to blockade of developmental vascularization in quail embryos manifested by vascular hemorrhage and disrupted vascular remodeling events in multiple tissue beds. This work demonstrates a unique role for hematopoietic stem cell cytokines in vascular tube morphogenesis and sprouting and further demonstrates a novel upstream priming role for VEGF and FGF to facilitate the action of promorphogenic hematopoietic cytokines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3709-3719
Number of pages11
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 7 2011
Externally publishedYes

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