Angiogenesis has an essential role in many important pathological and physiological settings. It has been shown that vascular permeability factor/vascular endothelial growth factor (VPF/VEGF), a potent cytokine expressed by most malignant tumors, has critical roles in vasculogenesis and both physiological and pathological angiogenesis. We report here that at non-toxic levels, the neurotransmitter dopamine strongly and selectively inhibited the vascular permeabilizing and angiogenic activities of VPF/VEGF. Dopamine acted through D2 dopamine receptors to induce endocytosis of VEGF receptor 2, which is critical for promoting angiogenesis, thereby preventing VPF/VEGF binding, receptor phosphorylation and subsequent signaling steps. The action of dopamine was specific for VPF/VEGF and did not affect other mediators of microvascular permeability or endothelial-cell proliferation or migration. These results reveal a new link between the nervous system and angiogenesis and indicate that dopamine and other D2 receptors, already in clinical use for other purposes, might have value in anti-angiogenesis therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)