Fluid flow-induced soluble vascular endothelial growth factor isoforms regulate actin adaptation in osteoblasts

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Although load-induced mechanical signals play a key role in bone formation and maintenance of bone mass and structure, the cellular mechanisms involved in the translation of these signals are still not well understood. Recent identification of a novel flow-induced mechanosignaling pathway involving VEGF in osteoblasts and the known VEGF regulation of actin reorganization in various cell types has led us to hypothesize that fluid shear stress-induced Vegf up-regulation underlies the actin cytoskeleton adaptation observed in osteoblasts during mechanotransduction. Our results show that MC3T3-E1 cells secrete significant VEGF in response to5hof pulsatile fluid shear stress (PFSS; 5 dynes/cm2 at 1 Hz), whereas expression of VEGF receptors (VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2, or NRP1) is unaffected. These receptors, in particular VEGFR-2, participate in PFSS-induced VEGF release. Exposure to flow-conditioned medium or exogenous VEGF significantly induces stress fiber formation in osteoblasts that is comparable with PFSS-induced stress fiber formation, whereas VEGF knockdown abrogates this response to PFSS, thereby providing evidence that flow-induced VEGF release plays a role in actin polymerization. Using neutralizing antibodies against the receptors and VEGF isoforms, we found that soluble VEGFs, in particular VEGF164, play a crucial role in transient stress fiber formation during osteoblast mechano-transduction, most likely through VEGFR-2 and NRP1. Based on these data we conclude that flow-induced VEGF release from osteoblasts regulates osteoblast actin adaptation during mechanotransduction and that VEGF paracrine signaling may provide potent cross-talk among bone cells and endothelial cells that is essential for fracture healing, bone remodeling, and osteogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30931-30941
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number40
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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