Angiopoietin-2 in Bone Marrow milieu promotes Multiple Myeloma-associated angiogenesis

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Abstract

Angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) is involved in angiogenesis in both solid and hematological malignancies. In Multiple Myeloma (MM), serum Ang-2 correlates with disease progression and response to therapy. To address the patho-physiologic role of Ang-2 in MM associated angiogenesis, we used sera from patients with active MM, which contained significantly higher levels of the molecule, compared to those from patients with smoldering MM and Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance. MM Bone Marrow (BM) sera with high Ang-2 concentration specifically contributed to endothelial cell (EC) activation, while Ang-1 containing sera maintained EC stabilization. The functional dichotomy of Ang-1 and Ang-2 was confirmed by the triggering of distinctive signaling pathways down-stream the common Tie-2 receptor, i.e., the Akt or the ERK- phosphorylation pathway. Notably, Ang-2 but not VEGF serum levels correlated with BM micro-vessel density, further underscoring the key role of Ang-2 in angiogenesis. Western Blot, RT-PCR and immunocytochemistry identified MMEC as the major source of Ang-2, at variance with MM cells and CD14+ BM monocytes. These data suggest that Ang-2 produced in the BM milieu may contribute to MM angiogenesis and suggest that the molecule can be further exploited both as angiogenesis biomarker and as a potential therapeutic target.

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