Prostaglandin E2 promotes endothelial differentiation from bone marrow-derived cells through AMPK activation

Zhenjiu Zhu, Chenglai Fu, Xiaoxia Li, Yimeng Song, Chenghong Li, Minghui Zou, Youfei Guan, Yi Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) has been reported to modulate angiogenesis, the process of new blood vessel formation, by promoting proliferation, migration and tube formation of endothelial cells. Endothelial progenitor cells are known as a subset of circulating bone marrow mononuclear cells that have the capacity to differentiate into endothelial cells. However, the mechanism underlying the stimulatory effects of PGE2 and its specific receptors on bone marrow-derived cells (BMCs) in angiogenesis has not been fully characterized. Treatment with PGE2 significantly increased the differentiation and migration of BMCs. Also, the markers of differentiation to endothelial cells, CD31 and von Willebrand factor, and the genes associated with migration, matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9, were significantly upregulated. This upregulation was abolished by dominant-negative AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and AMPK inhibitor but not protein kinase, a inhibitor. As a functional consequence of differentiation and migration, the tube formation of BMCs was reinforced. Along with altered BMCs functions, phosphorylation and activation of AMPK and endothelial nitric oxide synthase, the target of activated AMPK, were both increased which could be blocked by EP4 blocking peptide and simulated by the agonist of EP4 but not EP1, EP2 or EP3. The pro-angiogenic role of PGE2 could be repressed by EP4 blocking peptide and retarded in EP4 +/- mice. Therefore, by promoting the differentiation and migration of BMCs, PGE2 reinforced their neovascularization by binding to the receptor of EP4 in an AMPK-dependent manner. PGE2 may have clinical value in ischemic heart disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere23554
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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