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VEGF is crucial for the hepatic vascular development required for lipoprotein uptake.

Authors
  • Carpenter, Brian
  • Lin, Yuankai
  • Stoll, Stephanie
  • Raffai, Robert L
  • McCuskey, Robert
  • Wang, Rong
Type
Published Article
Journal
Development (Cambridge, England)
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2005
Volume
132
Issue
14
Pages
3293–3303
Identifiers
PMID: 15944181
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Hepatic lipid catabolism begins with the transport of lipoprotein remnants from the sinusoidal vasculature into hepatocytes by endocytosis via microvilli. To test the hypothesis that fenestrated sinusoidal endothelial cells (SECs) are crucial for this process, we selectively disrupted SECs by downregulating vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling, using hepatocyte-specific, tetracycline-regulatable expression of a VEGF receptor that can sequester VEGF but cannot relay its signal. Newborn mutant livers appeared grossly normal, but displayed a dark-red color that was distinguishable from normal physiological lipid-rich pink livers. Mutant sinusoidal networks were reduced and their SECs lacked fenestrae. Hepatocellular lipid levels were profoundly reduced, as determined by Oil Red O staining and transmission electron microscopy, and fewer hepatocytic microvilli were evident, indicating impaired lipoprotein endocytosis. Levels of apolipoprotein (APO) E bound to mutant sinusoidal networks were significantly reduced, and fluorescently-labeled murine remnant lipoproteins injected into the blood stream failed to accumulate in the space of Disse and diffuse into hepatocytes, providing evidence that reduced hepatocellular lipid levels in mutant livers are due to impaired lipoprotein uptake. Temporal downregulation of VEGF signaling revealed that it is crucial at all developmental stages of hepatic vascular morphogenesis, and repression of the dominant-negative effect can rescue the phenotype. These findings provide the first genetic evidence that VEGF dynamically regulates SEC fenestration during liver organogenesis, a process that is required for lipoprotein uptake by the liver.

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