Ang-1 Gene Therapy Inhibits Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1α (HIF-1α)-Prolyl-4-Hydroxylase-2, Stabilizes HIF-1α Expression, and Normalizes Immature Vasculature in db/db Mice

  1. Jian-Xiong Chen and
  2. Amanda Stinnett
  1. From the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
  1. Corresponding author: Jian-Xiong Chen, jian-xiong.chen{at}


OBJECTIVE— Diabetic impaired angiogenesis is associated with impairment of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) as well as vasculature maturation. We investigated the potential roles and intracellular mechanisms of angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) gene therapy on myocardial HIF-1α stabilization and vascular maturation in db/db mice.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS— db/db mice were systemically administrated adenovirus Ang-1 (Ad-CMV-Ang-1). Myocardial HIF-1α, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), hemeoxygenase-1 (HO-1), endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), Akt, and HIF-1α–prolyl-4-hydroxylase-2 (PHD)2 expression were measured. Vasculature maturation, capillary and arteriole densities, and cardiac interstitial fibrosis were analyzed in the border zone of infarcted myocardium.

RESULTS— Systemic administration of Ad-CMV-Ang-1 results in overexpression of Ang-1 in db/db mice hearts. Ang-1 gene therapy causes a significant increase in Akt and eNOS expression and HIF-1α stabilization. This is accompanied by a significant upregulation of VEGF and HO-1 expression. Intriguingly, Ang-1 gene therapy also leads to a significant inhibition of PHD2 expression. Smooth muscle recruitment and smooth muscle coverage in the neovessels of the border zone of infarcted myocardium are severely impaired in db/db mice compared with wild-type mice. Ang-1 gene therapy rescues these abnormalities, which leads to a dramatic increase in capillary and arteriole densities and a significant reduction of cardiac hypertrophy and interstitial fibrosis at 14 days after ischemia. Taken together, our data show that Ang-1 increases myocardial vascular maturation and angiogenesis together with suppression of PHD2 and the upregulation of HIF-1α signaling.

CONCLUSIONS— Normalization of immature vasculature by Ang-1 gene therapy may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for treatment of the diabetes-associated impairment of myocardial angiogenesis.


  • Published ahead of print at on 3 October 2008.

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    • Accepted September 17, 2008.
    • Received April 15, 2008.

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  1. Diabetes vol. 57 no. 12 3335-3343
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