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3D Microtissue Models to Analyze the Effects of Ultralow Dose LPS on Vascular Sprouting Dynamics in the Tumor Microenvironment

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journal contribution
posted on 19.04.2017, 00:00 by Megan C. Cox, Andrea S. Kuliasha, Liwu Li, Scott S. Verbridge
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) plays a major role in innate immune responses and has been shown to impact vascular dynamics when present at high concentrations. However, the impact of ultralow levels of LPS (<100 pg/mL), present in the body during states of chronic inflammation, on vascular dynamics is unclear. In this study, we have integrated a 3D collagen hydrogel tissue mimic with advanced imaging and cell characterization assays to assess the potential impact of chronic inflammation on vascular dynamics, and uncover any alterations in the vascular response to low vs high dose LPS in the context of tumor progression. Accounting for both frequency of sprouting and invasiveness of the sprouts, the treatments of ultralow dose LPS with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a potent angiogenic promoter and present in excess in the tumor microenvironment, produced enhanced vascular development of human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMECs) in our in vitro model. There was no evidence of altered proliferation or apoptosis among the various VEGF treatment groups, indicating an enhanced migratory endothelial cell phenotype results from exposure to ultralow dose LPS with VEGF. The lack of enhanced vascular development upon treatments of high doses of LPS in the presence of VEGF could be partially attributed to an LPS dose-dependent increase in the activation of NF-κB. This study provides insight into the dynamic regulation of vascular development by varying levels of LPS and the potential role of chronic inflammation to prime a pro-angiogenic microenvironment and contribute to tumor progression.

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