Regulation of angiogenesis by interferon-beta

Diane Renee Bielenberg, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The purpose of these studies was to investigate the role of interferon-beta (IFN-$\beta$) in angiogenesis. IFN-$\alpha/\beta$ have been implicated in inhibiting a number of steps in the angiogenic pathway. We examined the balance of angiogenesis-regulating molecules in several systems including human infantile hemangiomas, UV-B irradiated mice, and dorsal incisional wound healing in mice. In each system, epidermal hyperplasia and cutaneous angiogenesis were directly related to the expression of positive angiogenic factors (bFGF and VEGF) and inversely related to the expression of endogenous IFN-$\beta.$ The re-expression of IFN-$\beta$ correlated with tumor regression and/or resolution of wound healing. In contrast to control mice, UV-B-induced cutaneous angiogenesis and hyperplasia persisted in IFN-$\alpha/\beta$ receptor knock-out mice. In normal mice, endogenous IFN-$\beta$ was expressed by all differentiated epithelial cells exposed to environmental stimuli. The expression of endogenous IFN-$\beta$ was necessary but insufficient for complete differentiation of epidermal keratinocytes. The tumor organ microenvironment can regulate angiogenesis. Human bladder carcinoma cells growing in the bladder wall of nude mice express high levels of bFGF, VEGF, and MMP-9, have higher vascular densities, and produce metastases to lymph nodes and lungs, whereas the same cells growing subcutaneously express less bFGF, VEGF, and MMP-9, have lower vascular densities, and do not metastasize. IFN-$\alpha/\beta$ was found to inhibit bFGF and MMP-9 expression both in vitro and in vivo in human bladder carcinoma cells. Systemic therapy with human IFN-$\alpha$ of human bladder cancer cells growing orthotopically in nude mice, resulted in decreased vascularity, tumorigenicity, and metastasis as compared to saline treated mice. Human bladder cancer cells resistant to the antiproliferative effects of IFN were transfected with the human IFN-$\beta$ gene. Hu-IFN-$\beta$ transfected cells expressed significantly less bFGF protein and gelatinase activity than parental or control-transfected cells and did not grow at ectopic or orthotopic sites. Collectively the data provide direct evidence that IFN-$\alpha/\beta$ can inhibit angiogenesis via down-regulation of angiogenesis-stimulating cytokines.

Subject Area

Cellular biology|Anatomy & physiology|Animals

Recommended Citation

Bielenberg, Diane Renee, "Regulation of angiogenesis by interferon-beta" (1998). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9909434.