A permissive role for tumor necrosis factor in vascular endothelial growth factor-induced vascular permeability

Matthias Clauss, Cord Sunderkötter, Baldur Sveinbjörnsson, Stefan Hippenstiel, Antje Willuweit, Michael Marino, Elvira Haas, Rolf Seljelid, Peter Scheurich, Norbert Suttorp, Matthias Grell, Werner Risau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) induces both angiogenesis and an increase in vascular permeability, 2 processes that are considered to be important for both tumor growth and the delivery of drugs to the site of tumors. This study demonstrates that transmembrane expression of tumor necrosis factor (tmTNF) is up-regulated in the endothelium of a murine methylcholanthrene (meth A)-induced sarcoma in comparison to the adjacent normal dermal vasculature and is also present on cultivated human endothelial cells. It is further shown that tmTNF is required for VEGF-mediated endothelial hyperpermeability in vitro and in vivo. This permissive activity of TNF appears to be selective, because anti-TNF antibodies ablated the VEGF-induced permeability but not proliferation of cultivated human endothelial cells. Furthermore, tnf gene-deficient mice show no obvious defects in vascularization and develop normally but failed to respond to administration of VEGF with an increase in vascular permeability. Subsequent studies indicated that the tmTNF and VEGF signaling pathways converge at the level of a secondary messenger, the "stress-activated protein kinase-2" (SAPK-2)/p38: (1) up-regulated endothelial expression of tmTNF resulted in the continuous activation of SAPK-2/p38 in vitro, and (2) an inhibitor of SAPK-2/p38 activation abolished the vascular permeability activity of VEGF in vivo. In conclusion, the study's finding that continuous autocrine signaling by tmTNF sensitizes endothelial cells to respond to VEGF by increasing their vascular permeability provides new therapeutic concepts for manipulating vascular hyperpermeability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1321-1329
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology

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