Reduced blood vessel formation and tumor growth in alpha5-integrin-negative teratocarcinomas and embryoid bodies
Embryonic stem (ES) cells-wild-type, heterozygous, or null for alpha5-integrin-were injected ectopically into syngeneic mice to develop teratocarcinomas. alpha5-null-derived teratocarcinomas were significantly smaller than the wild-type or alpha5 heterozygous tumors. Histological analysis revealed the presence of tissues derived from all three germ layers, in all tumors. However, alpha5-null teratocarcinomas displayed less undifferentiated tissue than did the controls. Decreased proliferation
... sed proliferation and increased apoptosis were observed in the undifferentiated areas of the alpha5-null teratocarcinomas. The expression of extracellular matrix proteins, fibronectin and tenascin-C, and the basement membrane components, laminin, entactin/nidogen, and collagen IV, was similar in the different tumors, although the deposition of these molecules was more disorganized in alpha5-null teratocarcinomas. The absence of alpha5-integrin in the various tissues of the alpha5-null tumors was confirmed by immunohistochemistry. Many vessels, but not all, stained positively for alpha5-integrin, showing that they were host derived. Analysis of the area occupied by vessels revealed, on average, an 8-fold decrease in alpha5-null teratocarcinomas compared with control tumors. Staining for smooth muscle alpha-actin showed that pericytes and smooth muscle cells were recruited around the vessels in all tumors, suggesting similar vessel differentiation. Deposition of EIIIA and EIIIB and fibronectin around the vessels was observed in all tumors. The fact that some, although few, alpha5-integrin-negative vessels existed in alpha5-null tumors indicated that alpha5-/- ES cells could differentiate into endothelial cells. Endothelial cell differentiation and vessel formation were analyzed also in vitro. alpha5-null ES cells were differentiated into embryoid bodies, although they were delayed in growth and attachment. Differentiation into endothelial cells was achieved, but the organization into a complex vasculature was delayed compared with controls. We conclude that alpha5beta1-integrin plays a significant role in vessel formation both in ES cell cultures and in teratocarcinomas. Reduced vascularization likely contributed to the reduced proliferation and increased apoptosis observed in alpha5-null teratocarcinomas.