Six isoforms of actins encoded by different genes have been identified in mammals including α-cardiac, α-skeletal, α-smooth muscle (α-SMA), β-cytoplasmic, γ-smooth muscle (γ-SMA), and γ-cytoplasmic actins (γ-CYA). In a previous study we showed the localization of α-SMA and other cytoskeletal proteins in the hairs and their appendages of developing rats (Morioka K., et al. (2011) Acta Histochem. Cytochem. 44, 141–153), and herein we determined the localization of γ type actins in the same tissues and organs by immunohistochemical staining. Our results indicate that the expression of γ-SMA and γ-CYA is suggested to be poor in actively proliferating tissues such as the basal layer of the epidermis and the hair matrix in the hair bulb, and as well as in highly keratinized tissues such as the hair cortex and hair cuticle. In contrast, the expression of γ-actins were high in the spinous layer, granular layer, hair shaft, and inner root sheath, during their active differentiations. In particular, the localization of γ-SMA was very similar to that of α-SMA. It was located not only in the arrector pili muscles and muscles in the dermis, but also in the dermal sheath and in a limited area of the outer root sheath in both the hair and vibrissal follicles. The γ-CYA was suggested to be co-localized with γ-SMA in the dermal sheath, outer root sheath, and arrector pili muscles. Sparsely distributed dermal cells expressed both types of γ-actin. The expression of γ-actins is suggested to undergo dynamic changes according to the proliferation and differentiation of the skin and hair-related cells.
Choroidal neovascularization is one of the major pathological changes in age-related macular degeneration, which causes devastating blindness in the elderly population. The molecular mechanism of choroidal neovascularization has been under extensive investigation, but is still an open question. We focused on sonic hedgehog signaling, which is implicated in angiogenesis in various organs. Laser-induced injuries to the mouse retina were made to cause choroidal neovascularization. We examined gene expression of sonic hedgehog, its receptors (patched1, smoothened, cell adhesion molecule down-regulated by oncogenes (Cdon) and biregional Cdon-binding protein (Boc)) and downstream transcription factors (Gli1-3) using real-time RT-PCR. At seven days after injury, mRNAs for Patched1 and Gli1 were upregulated in response to injury, but displayed no upregulation in control retinas. Immunohistochemistry revealed that Patched1 and Gli1 proteins were localized to CD31-positive endothelial cells that cluster between the wounded retina and the pigment epithelium layer. Treatment with the hedgehog signaling inhibitor cyclopamine did not significantly decrease the size of the neovascularization areas, but the hedgehog agonist purmorphamine made the areas significantly larger than those in untreated retina. These results suggest that the hedgehog-signaling cascade may be a therapeutic target for age-related macular degeneration.
Angiogenic factor with G-patch and FHA domain 1 (AGGF1) is a novel angiogenic factor that was first described in Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome, a congenital vascular disease associated with capillary and venous malformations. AGGF1, similar to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), has been shown to promote strong angiogenesis in chick embryos in vivo. Blocking AGGF1 expression prevented vessel formation, which suggests AGGF1 is a potent angiogenic factor linked to vascular malformations. So far, AGGF1 expression studies in human vascular lesions have not been performed. Here, we immunohistochemically investigated AGGF1 expression in venous, arteriovenous or capillary malformations, and infantile or congenital hemangioma. We found that AGGF1 was mostly expressed in endothelial cells with plump morphology. Moreover, the majority of mast cells strongly expressed AGGF1. Notwithstanding our incomplete knowledge of the molecular mechanism of AGGF1 in angiogenesis, our results show for the first time that AGGF1 is expressed in plump endothelial cells and mast cells.