High mobility group box 1 is a novel substrate of dipeptidyl peptidase-IV

C. Marchetti, A. Di Carlo, F. Facchiano, C. Senatore, R. De Cristofaro, A. Luzi, M. Federici, M. Romani, M. Napolitano, M. C. Capogrossi, A. Germani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ims/hypothesis High mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) is a cytokine with a key role in tissue regeneration and angiogenesis. Previous studies have shown that topical application of HMGB1 to skin wounds of mouse models of diabetes enhanced vessel density and accelerated wound healing, suggesting that diabetes may affect endogenous HMGB1 functions. Dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV/ CD26) is a protease whose activity is increased in diabetes and whose inhibition improves glucose tolerance. SinceHMGB1 contains potential DPP-IV cleavage sites, we determined whether HMGB1 may be a substrate for DPPIV and whether DPP-IV-mediated cleavage may alter the biological activity of HMGB1. Methods Reversed phase HPLC, mass spectrometry and western blot analyses were performed to analyse and identify HMGB1 peptides generated following DPP-IV digestion. HMGB1 angiogenic functions in the presence of DPP-IV were evaluated in vitro and in vivo. HMGB1 protein was detected in the serum of type 2 diabetic patients before and after treatment with DPP-IV inhibitors. Results DPP-IV cleaved HMGB1 at its N-terminal region and affected its angiogenic functions. Specifically, DPP-IV inhibited HMGB1-induced endothelial cell migration and capillary-like structure formation, as well as HMGB1- mediated vascular network formation in Matrigel implants in mice. We had previously found that HMGB1 promoted endothelial cell migration through activation of extracellular regulated kinase signalling pathway. Here we showed that such an effect was abolished in the presence of DPP-IV. Finally, the N-terminal truncated form of HMGB1 was detected in the serum of type 2 diabetic patients, in whom DPP-IV inhibitors enhanced the levels of full-length HMGB1. Conclusions/interpretation DPP-IV cleaves HMGB1 and, via this mechanism, inhibits HMGB1 angiogenic activity. Treatment with DPP-IV inhibitors may enhance HMGB1 activity in diabetic patients, thereby improving angiogenesis in this condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-244
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Basic science
  • Cells
  • Cytokines
  • Endothelium
  • Macrovascular complications
  • Oral pharmacological

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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