Impact of Arachidonic Acid and the Leukotriene Signaling Pathway on Vasculogenesis of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells

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Embryonic stem (ES) cells can differentiate into various kinds of cells, such as endothelial and hematopoietic cells. In addition, some evidence suggests that inflammatory mediators such as leukotrienes (LTs), which include the 5-lipoxygenase (LOX) family, can regulate endothelial cell differentiation. In the present study, the eicosanoid precursor arachidonic acid (AA) stimulated vasculogenesis of ES cells by increasing the number of fetal liver kinase-1+ vascular progenitor cells as well as vascular structures positive for platelet endothelial cell adhesion protein-1 and vascular endothelial cadherin. The stimulation of vasculogenesis and expression of the rate-limiting enzyme in the LT signaling pathway, 5-LOX-activating protein (FLAP), was blunted upon treatment with the FLAP inhibitors AM643 and REV5901. Vasculogenesis was significantly restored upon exogenous addition of LTs. Downstream of FLAP, the LTB4 receptor (BLT1) blocker U75302, the BLT2 receptor blocker LY255283 as well as the cysteinyl LT blocker BAY-u9773 inhibited vasculogenesis of ES cells. AA treatment of differentiating ES cells increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, which was not affected upon either FLAP or cyclooxygenase-2 inhibition. Prevention of ROS generation by either the free radical scavengers vitamin E and N-(2-mercaptopropionyl)glycine or the NADPH oxidase inhibitor VAS2870 downregulated vasculogenesis of ES cells and blunted the provasculogenic effect of AA. In summary, our data demonstrate that proinflammatory AA stimulates vasculogenesis of ES cells via the LT pathway by mechanisms involving ROS generation.

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