Fang S, Chen S, Nurmi H, Leppänen VM, Jeltsch M, Scadden D, Silberstein L, Mikkola H, Alitalo K. 2020. VEGF-C protects the integrity of the bone marrow perivascular niche in mice. Blood. 136(16):1871-1883. Pubmed: 32842144 DOI:10.1182/blood.2020005699


Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) reside in the bone marrow (BM) stem cell niche, which provides a vital source of HSC regulatory signals. Radiation and chemotherapy disrupt the HSC niche, including its sinusoidal vessels and perivascular cells, contributing to delayed hematopoietic recovery. Thus, identification of factors that can protect the HSC niche during an injury could offer a significant therapeutic opportunity to improve hematopoietic regeneration. In this study, we identified a critical function for vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C), that of maintaining the integrity of the BM perivascular niche and improving BM niche recovery after irradiation-induced injury. Both global and conditional deletion of Vegfc in endothelial or leptin receptor-positive (LepR+) cells led to a disruption of the BM perivascular niche. Furthermore, deletion of Vegfc from the microenvironment delayed hematopoietic recovery after transplantation by decreasing endothelial proliferation and LepR+ cell regeneration. Exogenous administration of VEGF-C via an adenoassociated viral vector improved hematopoietic recovery after irradiation by accelerating endothelial and LepR+ cell regeneration and by increasing the expression of hematopoietic regenerative factors. Our results suggest that preservation of the integrity of the perivascular niche via VEGF-C signaling could be exploited therapeutically to enhance hematopoietic regeneration.
© 2020 by The American Society of Hematology.

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David Scadden’s laboratory is dedicated to discovering the principles governing blood cell production, with the ultimate goal of guiding the development of therapies for blood disorders and cancer.

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