Pericytes are known to communicate with endothelial cells by direct contact and by releasing cytokines such as TGF-beta. There is also strong evidence that pericytes act as regulators of endothelial cell proliferation and differentiation. We have investigated the effect of pericyte-conditioned medium (PCM) on proliferation of human microvascular endothelial cells in vitro, together with the expression of the vasoregulatory molecules, constitutive and inducible nitric oxide synthases (ecNOS and iNOS), and endothelin-1 (ET-1). Expression was measured at the mRNA level using semiquantitative RT-PCR for all three genes and at the protein level for ecNOS and iNOS using Western blotting. Growth curves for HMECs showed that PCM inhibits proliferation, eventually leading to cell death. Exposure to PCM repressed iNOS mRNA expression fivefold after 6 h. A similar, though delayed, reduction in protein levels was observed. ecNOS mRNA was slightly induced at 6 h, though there was no significant change in ecNOS protein. By contrast, ET-1 mRNA was induced 2.3-fold after 6 h exposure to PCM. We conclude that pericytes release a soluble factor or factors that are potent inhibitors of endothelial cell growth and promote vasoconstriction by up-regulating endothelin-1 and down-regulating iNOS. (C) 2000 Academic Press.
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2000|