Endothelial α1-adrenoceptors regulate neo-angiogenesis

M. Ciccarelli, G. Santulli, A. Campanile, G. Galasso, P. Cervèro, G. G. Altobelli, V. Cimini, L. Pastore, F. Piscione, B. Trimarco, G. Iaccarino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Background and purpose: Intact endothelium plays a pivotal role in post-ischaemic angiogenesis. It is a phenomenon finely tuned by activation and inhibition of several endothelial receptors. The presence of α1-adrenoceptors on the endothelium suggests that these receptors may participate in regenerative phenomena by regulating the responses of endothelial cells involved in neo-angiogenesis. Experimental approach: We evaluated the expression of the subtypes of the α1-adrenoceptor in isolated endothelial cells harvested from Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats. We explored the possibility these α1-adrenoceptors may influence the pro-angiogenic phenotype of endothelial cells in vitro. In vivo, we used a model of hindlimb ischaemia in WKY rats, to assess the effects of α1 adrenoceptor agonist or antagonist on angiogenesis in the ischaemic hindlimb by laser Doppler blood flow measurements, digital angiographies, hindlimb perfusion with dyed beads and histological evaluation. Key results: In vitro, pharmacological antagonism of α1- adrenoceptors in endothelial cells from WKY rats by doxazosin enhanced, while stimulation of these adrenoceptors with phenylephrine, inhibited endothelial cell proliferation and DNA synthesis, ERK and retinoblastoma protein (Rb) phosphorylation, cell migration and tubule formation. In vivo, we found increased α1-adrenoceptor density in the ischaemic hindlimb, compared to non-ischaemic hindlimb, suggesting an enhanced α1- adrenoceptor tone in the ischaemic tissue. Treatment with doxazosin (0.06 mg kg-1 day-1 for 14 days) did not alter systemic blood pressure but enhanced neo-angiogenesis in the ischaemic hindlimb, as measured by all our assays. Conclusions: Our findings support the hypothesis that the α1-adrenoceptors in endothelial cells provide a negative regulation of angiogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)936-946
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiogenesis
  • Endothelium
  • Pharmacology
  • Receptors
  • Vascular biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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