Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.484, No.3, 710-718, 2017
Vascular endothelial growth factor-C induces osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells through the ERK and RUNX2 pathway
Vascular endothelial cell growth factor C (VEGF-C) is a member of the VEGF family and plays a role in a variety of biological activities including lymphangiogenesis, angiogenesis, and neurogenesis through VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) and 3 (VEGFR3). However, it has not been elucidated whether VEGF-C promotes osteogenic differentiation. Herein, we investigated the effects of VEGF-C on osteogenic differentiation in human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and evaluated the underlying molecular mechanisms. VEGF-C treatment significantly increased RUNX2 expression, and led to the promotion of osteogenic marker gene expression and mineralization of MSCs. VEGF-C treatment induced the phosphorylation of VEGFR2 and VEGFR3 in MSCs. Treatment with the VEGFR3-specific ligand VEGF-C156S also promoted MSC mineralization. Furthermore, co -treatment with VEGFR2 and VEGFR3 kinase inhibitors blocked VEGF-C-induced MSC mineralization. VEGF-C treatment activated ERK signaling in MSCs, and inhibition of ERR signaling effectively suppressed VEGF-C-induced RUNX2 expression and mineralization. These results indicate that VEGF-C-induced MSC osteogenesis is mediated through VEGFR2 and VEGFR3, and followed the activation of the ERK/RUNX2 signaling pathway. (C) 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.