Delta-like 4 (Dll4) is a ligand of the Notch pathway family which has been widely studied in the context of tumor angiogenesis, its blockade shown to result in non-productive angiogenesis and halted tumor growth. As Dll4 inhibitors enter the clinic, there is an emerging need to understand their side effects, namely the systemic consequences of Dll4:Notch blockade in tissues other than tumors. The present study focused on the effects of systemic anti-Dll4 targeting in the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment. Here we show that Dll4 blockade with monoclonal antibodies perturbs the BM vascular niche of sub-lethally irradiated mice, resulting in increased CD31+, VE-Cadherin+ and c-kit+ vessel density, and also increased megakaryocytes, whereas CD105+, VEGFR3+, SMA+ and lectin+ vessel density remained unaltered. We investigated also the expression of angiocrine genes upon Dll4 treatment in vivo, and demonstrate that IGFbp2, IGFbp3, Angpt2, Dll4, DHH and VEGF-A are upregulated, while FGF1 and CSF2 are reduced. In vitro treatment of endothelial cells with anti-Dll4 reduced Akt phosphorylation while maintaining similar levels of Erk 1/2 phosphorylation. Besides its effects in the BM vascular niche, anti-Dll4 treatment perturbed hematopoiesis, as evidenced by increased myeloid (CD11b+), decreased B (B220+) and T (CD3+) lymphoid BM content of treated mice, with a corresponding increase in myeloid circulating cells. Moreover, anti-Dll4 treatment also increased the number of CFU-M and -G colonies in methylcellulose assays, independently of Notch1. Finally, anti-Dll4 treatment of donor BM improved the hematopoietic recovery of lethally irradiated recipients in a transplant setting. Together, our data reveals the hematopoietic (BM) effects of systemic anti-Dll4 treatment result from qualitative vascular changes and also direct hematopoietic cell modulation, which may be favorable in a transplant setting.
|State||Published - Dec 20 2012|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank other members of the Angiogenesis Lab for their input and suggestions. The Program for Advanced Medical Education is sponsored by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Fundação Champalimaud, Ministério da Saúde and Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal.
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