American journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology

Regulation of sFlt-1 and VEGF secretion by adenosine under hypoxic conditions in rat placental villous explants.

PMID 20962204


The role of adenosine in the regulation of cardiovascular function has long been acknowledged, but only recently has its importance in angiogenesis been appreciated, most notably, through its direct regulation of the proangiogenic growth factor, VEGF. Recent work has established that proangiogenic and antiangiogenic factors, specifically VEGF and and the soluble VEGF receptor fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1), are directly influenced by hypoxia in placental ischemia. While adenosine has been reported to be an important regulator of VEGF in vascular tissue, the importance of adenosine in regulating VEGF and sFlt-1 in placental tissue is unclear. Here, we have investigated the role of adenosine in the secretion of VEGF and the antiangiogenic protein sFlt-1 in placental villous explants. Under normoxic conditions (6% oxygen), the nonspecific adenosine receptor antagonist, 8-sulphophenyltheophylline (8-SPT) had no effect on either VEGF (P = 0.38) or sFlt-1 (P = 0.56) secretion. However, under hypoxic conditions (1% oxygen), 8-SPT attenuated the increase in the secretion of both VEGF and sFlt-1 (P < 0.05 and P < 0.005, respectively). Exogenous and the adenosine transporter inhibitor dipyridamole (which increases extracellular levels of adenosine) showed differential effects under normoxic conditions: sFlt-1 levels in media increased significantly (P < 0.05), whereas VEGF was unaffected (P = 0.67 and P = 0.19, respectively). These data indicate that extracellular adenosine can regulate VEGF and sFlt-1 secretion in the hypoxic placenta and could, therefore, control the balance of these competing angiogenic factors in diseases characterized by placental ischemia.