Notch activation promotes endothelial survival through a PI3K-Slug axis.

Microvascular research

PubMedID: 23743248

Chang L, Wong F, Niessen K, Karsan A. Notch activation promotes endothelial survival through a PI3K-Slug axis. Microvasc Res. 2013;8980-5.
RATIONALE
Loss of endothelial viability correlates with initiation and progress of vascular pathology. However, much remains to be learned about pathways required to maintain the balance between cell viability and apoptosis. Notch activation can enhance or inhibit apoptosis but its role in maintaining the endothelium needs further delineation.

OBJECTIVE
This study aims to identify the mechanisms by which Notch activation regulates endothelial viability.

METHODS AND RESULTS
Endothelial cells transduced with active Notch were treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or homocysteine to induce endothelial apoptosis. Notch protected against LPS-induced cell death but exacerbated homocysteine-induced apoptosis. Inhibition of PI3K revealed that ligand-induced activation of endogenous Notch initiates parallel death and survival pathways and exhibits a differential effect on endothelial survival depending on the apoptotic stimulus. PI3K activity regulated the expression of Slug, which was required for survival in Notch-activated endothelial cells. Homocysteine, but not LPS, blocked both PI3K activity and Slug expression in Notch-activated cells, leading to increased endothelial apoptosis.

CONCLUSIONS
Notch signaling leads to activation of parallel survival and apoptotic pathways in endothelial cells. The interaction of Notch with other signaling pathways plays an important contextual role in regulating endothelial viability.