Vascular endothelial growth factor-A is a survival factor for nucleus pulposus cells in the intervertebral disc

Nobuyuki Fujita, Jun ichi Imai, Toru Suzuki, Masayuki Yamada, Ken Ninomiya, Kana Miyamoto, Ryotaro Iwasaki, Hideo Morioka, Morio Matsumoto, Kazuhiro Chiba, Shinya Watanabe, Toshio Suda, Yoshiaki Toyama, Takeshi Miyamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The intervertebral disc (IVD) is composed of two avascular tissue types, the nucleus pulposus (NP) and the annulus fibrosus (AF). IVDs is the largest avascular tissue in the human body, however, how these tissues are maintained without a blood supply is poorly understood. Here we show that vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) is highly expressed in NP and that VEGF-A plays a role in NP survival. High VEGF-A expression in NP was detected by microarray analysis, and NP was positive for the hypoxic probe pimonidazole and hypoxia-responsive genes. VEGF-A expression in NP was promoted by hypoxic conditions in vitro. NP cells also expressed the membrane-bound VEGF receptor-1 (VEGFR-1), and the number of apoptotic cells in cultured cell model of NP increased following treatment with VEGFR-1-Fc, which traps VEGF-A in NP. These results indicate that NP is a hypoxic tissue, and that VEGF-A functions in NP survival in an autocrine/paracrine manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-372
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Volume372
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jul 25

Keywords

  • Avascular
  • Intervertebral disc
  • Nucleus pulposus
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor-A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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