2016 Volume 240 Issue 1 Pages 47-56
The interleukin (IL)-17 family, consisting of six homodimeric cytokines IL-17A, IL-17B, IL-17C, IL-17D, IL-17E/IL-25, and IL-17F, mediates a variety of biological activities including regulation of chemokine secretion and angiogenesis. Among the IL-17 family members, IL-17A and IL-17E/IL-25 are angiogenesis stimulators, while IL-17B and IL-17F are angiogenesis inhibitors. Recently, IL-17A/F heterodimer, comprised of the IL-17A and IL-17F subunits, was found as another member of the IL-17 cytokine family. However, to date, it has been unknown whether IL-17A/F has biological actions to affect the angiogenesis-related vascular endothelial functions. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the biological effects of IL-17A/F on the growth, migration and capillary-like tube formation of vascular endothelial cells. Recombinant IL-17A/F protein had no direct effects on the growth of human dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HMVECs), whereas, after 4-hour incubation in a modified Boyden Chemotaxicell chamber, IL-17A/F significantly induced migration of HMVECs over a wide range of doses via the phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway. We further investigated the biological effect of IL-17A/F on capillary-like tube formation using a co-culture system of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs), which mimicked the in vivo microenvironment. In this co-culture system, IL-17A/F significantly promoted capillary-like endothelial tube formation in a dose-dependent fashion via the PI3K and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathways. Additionally, IL-17A/F up-regulated secretion of angiogenic growth factors such as IL-8 and growth-related oncogene (GRO)-α by HDFs. These findings identify a novel biological function for IL-17A/F as an indirect angiogenic agent.