Nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates (BIS) are potent inhibitors of bone resorption and are used in the treatment of a number of medical conditions, including multiple myeloma, breast cancer and osteoporosis. recent experimental evidence demonstrates that BIS also affect endothelial cell functions and angiogenesis; however, the molecular mechanism(s) are unclear. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent pro-angiogenic signal for endothelial cells. BIS inhibit VEGF responses in endothelial cells. The VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR2) is the main signaling receptor for VEGF in endothelial cells. We hypothesized that altered VEGFR2 expression in BIS-treated endothelial cells may account for these attenuated responses to VEGF. The affect of the BIS zoledronic acid (ZOL) was investigated in human umbilical vein endothelial cells using confocal microscopy, Western blotting, real-time PCR and flow cytometry. VEGFR2 accumulated within the ZOL-treated endothelial cells (p=0.0002), though not on the cell surface (p>0.05). ZOL did not induce VEGFR2-specific mRNA (p>0.05). ZOL inhibited endothelial cell chemotaxis towards VEGF (p=0.001). VEGF stimulation significantly reduced the amount of VEGFR2 in the endothelial cells (p=0.01). This response to VEGF was reduced by ZOL (p>0.05). The effects of ZOL on endothelial cell migration, VEGFR2 protein expression and response to VEGF were attenuated by geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate. Two- and one-way ANOVAs with Tukey or Dunnett's multiple comparison adjustments were used. The data suggest that ZOL induces aberrant VEGFR2 accumulation. This is not likely due to the induction of mRNA transcription, but rather to the disruption of the mevalonate pathway.
- Endothelial cells
- Vascular endothelial cell growth factor receptor-2