[en] Angiogenesis is a complex phenomenon likely to be under the strict control of a group of transcription factor(s). Homeobox (HOX)-containing proteins have been identified as regulators controlling the coordinated expression of genes involved in organ development and tissue differentiation. In this study, we have demonstrated that human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) express 8 of the 10 HOX genes contained in cluster B. Treatment of HUVEC with tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), an agent known to induce morphologic changes in endothelial cells, or vascular endothelium growth factor (VEGF), a proliferative and angiogenesis inducer, results in a specific time-dependent modulation of the eight HOX genes identified. Interestingly, neither basic fibroblast growth factor, an endothelial proliferative agent, nor TNP-470, a fumagillin derivative with potent antiendothelial cell proliferation properties, affected expression of these HOX genes. Specific modulation of HOX genes by differentiating agents but not by proliferative or antiproliferative molecules suggests that they could be involved in the control of the genetic program that coordinates the construction of new blood vessels.
Centre Anticancéreux près l'Université de Liège ; Association Sportive contre le Cancer ; Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS ; TELEVIE ; Communauté française de Belgique - CfB - Action Concertée Angiogenèse N°96/00-191