The role of endothelial progenitor cells in vascular repair is related to their incorporation at sites of vascular lesions, differentiation into endothelial cells, and release of various angiogenic factors specifically by a subset of early outgrowth endothelial progenitor cells (EOCs). It has been shown that patients suffering from cardiovascular disease exhibit increased levels of circulating and soluble CD40 ligand (sCD40L), which may influence the function of EOCs. We have previously shown that the inflammatory receptor CD40 is expressed on EOCs and its ligation with sCD40L impairs the anti-platelet function of EOCs. In the present study, we aimed at investigating the effect of sCD40L on the function of EOCs in endothelial repair. Human peripheral blood mononuclear cell-derived EOCs express CD40 and its adaptor proteins, the tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factors; TRAF1, TRAF2 and TRAF3. Stimulation of EOCs with sCD40L increased the expression of TRAF1, binding of TRAF2 to CD40 and phosphorylation of p38 mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK). In an in vitro wound healing assay, stimulation of EOCs with sCD40L increased the release of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) in a concentration-dependent manner and significantly enhanced the angiogenic potential of cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Inhibition of p38 MAPK reversed sCD40L-induced MMP-9 release by EOCs, whereas inhibition of MMP-9 reversed their proangiogenic effect on HUVECs. This study reveals the existence of a CD40L/CD40/TRAF axis in EOCs and shows that sCD40L increases the pro-angiogenic function of EOCs on cultured HUVECs by inducing a significant increase in MMP-9 release via, at least, the p38 MAPK signaling pathway.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)