E-Prostanoid 3 Receptor Mediates Sprouting Angiogenesis Through Suppression of the Protein Kinase A/β-Catenin/Notch Pathway

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Angiogenesis is a hallmark of embryonic development and various ischemic and inflammatory diseases. Prostaglandin E2 receptor subtype 3 (EP3) plays an important role in pathophysiologic angiogenesis; however, the precise mechanisms remain unknown. Here, we investigated the role of EP3 in zebra fish embryo and mouse retina angiogenesis and evaluated the underlying mechanisms.

Approach and Results—

The EP3 receptor was highly expressed in the vasculature in both zebra fish embryos and murine fetal retinas. Pharmacological inhibition or genetic deletion of EP3 significantly reduced vasculature formation in zebra fish embryos and mouse retinas. Further characterization revealed reduced filopodia extension of tip cells in embryonic retinas in EP3-deficient mice. EP3 deletion activated Notch activity by upregulation of delta-like ligand 4 expression in endothelial cells (ECs). Inhibition of Notch signaling rescued the angiogenic defects in EP3-deficient mouse retinas. Moreover, EP3 deficiency led to a significant increase in β-catenin phosphorylation at Ser675 and nuclear accumulation of β-catenin in ECs. Knockdown or inhibition of β-catenin restored the impaired sprouting angiogenesis resulting from EP3 deficiency in ECs. The EP3 receptor depressed protein kinase A activity in ECs by coupling to Gαi. Inhibition of protein kinase A activity significantly reduced Ser675 phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of β-catenin, abolished the increased delta-like ligand 4 expression, and subsequently restored the impaired angiogenic capacity of EP3-deficient ECs both in vitro and in vivo.


Activation of the EP3 receptor facilitates sprouting angiogenesis through protein kinase A–dependent Notch signaling, suggesting that EP3 and its downstream pathways maybe potential therapeutic targets in the treatment of ischemic diseases.

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