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      Expression of Heregulin in Human Coronary Atherosclerotic Lesions

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          Background: Endothelial cells, monocytes/macrophages, and vascular smooth muscle cells contribute to the establishment and progression of atherosclerotic lesions by expressing growth and inflammatory factors. The aim of the present study was to determine whether heregulin (HRG) is associated with human coronary artery disease. Methods: Twenty-six fresh human coronary artery segments were collected at autopsy. Expression of cysteine-rich 61 (CYR61) and VEGF in response to HRG was studied in the human endothelial cell line EA.hy926, and expression of CYR61 and HRG was evaluated in activated macrophages isolated from peripheral blood of healthy donors. Results: We found that HRG was overexpressed at the protein and mRNA level in all lesions analyzed and gradually increased as the stages of the lesions progressed. Expression of HRG was observed in the intima primarily in macrophages. The same specimens were analyzed for the expression of CYR61, an angiogenetic factor regulated by HRG in breast cancer epithelial cells. CYR61 was expressed in both normal and atheromatic specimens, but its expression was significantly enhanced in macrophages of the intima. Activation of primary human macrophages results in increased expression of both HRG and CYR61. In addition, studies in endothelial cells where no endogenous HRG is present showed that HRG induces expression of CYR61 and secretion of VEGF. Conclusions: HRG may, therefore, play an important role in the development of coronary artery disease and the expansion of the atherosclerotic plaque and may locally regulate the expression of the angiogenetic factor CYR61.

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          Most cited references 14

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          The CCN family of angiogenic regulators: the integrin connection.

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            CYR61, a product of a growth factor-inducible immediate early gene, promotes angiogenesis and tumor growth.

            CYR61 is a secreted, cysteine-rich, heparin-binding protein encoded by a growth factor-inducible immediate-early gene. Acting as an extracellular, matrix-associated signaling molecule, CYR61 promotes the adhesion of endothelial cells through interaction with the integrin alphaVbeta3 and augments growth factor-induced DNA synthesis in the same cell type. In this study, we show that purified CYR61 stimulates directed migration of human microvascular endothelial cells in culture through an alphaV beta3-dependent pathway and induces neovascularization in rat corneas. Both the chemotactic and angiogenic activities of CYR61 can be blocked by specific anti-CYR61 antibodies. Whereas most human tumor-derived cell lines tested express CYR61, the gastric adenocarcinoma cell line RF-1 does not. Expression of the CYR61 cDNA under the regulation of a constitutive promoter in RF-1 cells significantly enhances the tumorigenicity of these cells as measured by growth in immunodeficient mice, resulting in tumors that are larger and more vascularized than those produced by control RF-1 cells. Taken together, these results identify CYR61 as an angiogenic inducer that can promote tumor growth and vascularization; the results also suggest potential roles for CYR61 in physiologic and pathologic neovascularization.
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              NOV (nephroblastoma overexpressed) and the CCN family of genes: structural and functional issues.

               B. Perbal (2001)
              The CCN family of genes presently consists of six distinct members encoding proteins that participate in fundamental biological processes such as cell proliferation, attachment, migration, differentiation, wound healing, angiogenesis, and several pathologies including fibrosis and tumorigenesis. Whereas CYR61 and CTGF were reported to act as positive regulators of cell growth, NOV (nephroblastoma overexpressed) provided the first example of a CCN protein with negative regulatory properties and the first example of aberrant expression being associated with tumour development. The subsequent discovery of the ELM1, rCOP1, and WISP proteins has broadened the variety of functions attributed to the CCN proteins and has extended previous observations to other biological systems. This review discusses fundamental questions regarding the regulation of CCN gene expression in normal and pathological conditions, and the structural basis for their specific biological activity. After discussing the role of nov and other CCN proteins in the development of a variety of different tissues such as kidney, nervous system, muscle, cartilage, and bone, the altered expression of the CCN proteins in various pathologies is discussed, with an emphasis on the altered expression of nov in many different tumour types such as Wilms's tumour, renal cell carcinomas, prostate carcinomas, osteosarcomas, chondrosarcomas, adrenocortical carcinomas, and neuroblastomas. The possible use of nov as a tool for molecular medicine is also discussed. The variety of biological functions attributed to the CCN proteins has led to the proposal of a model in which physical interactions between the amino and carboxy portions of the CCN proteins modulate their biological activity and ensure a proper balance of positive and negative signals through interactions with other partners. In this model, disruption of the secondary structure of the CCN proteins induced by deletions of either terminus is expected to confer on the truncated polypeptide constitutive positive or negative activities.

                Author and article information

                J Vasc Res
                Journal of Vascular Research
                S. Karger AG
                December 2005
                20 October 2005
                : 42
                : 6
                : 463-474
                aLaboratory of Virology and bDepartment of Clinical Chemistry-Biochemistry, Medical School, University of Crete, Heraklion, cDepartment of Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of Thessaly, Larissa, and dFirst Department of Surgery, University of Athens, Medical School, Athens, Greece
                88100 J Vasc Res 2005;42:463–474
                © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 3, References: 36, Pages: 12
                Research Paper


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