Biochimica et biophysica acta

Leptin increases VEGF expression and enhances angiogenesis in human chondrosarcoma cells.

PMID 25230157


Leptin, 16kDa product of obese gene, is adipocytokine playing critical role in regulation of body weight. In recent years, leptin is also defined as potent angiogenic factor involving in tumorigenesis, angiogenesis, and metastasis. However, it is unknown whether leptin regulates VEGF production in human chondrosarcoma and contributing the tumor-associated angiogenesis. We analyzed protein level of leptin and VEGF in human chondrosarcoma tissues. Effects of leptin on chondrosarcoma cells were examined by in vitro and in vivo assays. In addition, intracellular signal pathways were investigated by pharmacological and genetic approaches. We found that both leptin and VEGF are highly expressed in human chondrosarcoma tissues, and positively correlated with tumor stage. Leptin increases VEGF production by activating OBRl receptor and MAPKs (p38, ERK, and JNK), which in turn enhances binding of AP-1 transcription factor to VEGF promoter, resulting in the transactivation of VEGF expression and subsequently promoting migration and tube formation in endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). In vivo, knockdown leptin significantly reduces angiogenesis and tumor growth. Leptin may be a therapeutic target of angiogenesis and metastasis in chondrosarcoma. These findings provide better understanding of pathogenesis of chondrosarcoma and can utilize this knowledge to design new therapeutic strategy.