Hypoxia-induced up-regulation of angiogenin in human malignant melanoma
Angiogenesis is essential for tumor progression and metastasis, however, the angiogenesis regulators that are biologically relevant for human melanoma are still unknown. In this study, we analyzed the expression of the potent angiogenic factor angiogenin (ANG) in human melanoma in vitro and in vivo. Four different human melanoma cell lines and two normal melanocytes were kept either under normoxic or hypoxic conditions. After 24 h of hypoxic culture conditions, ANG was up-regulated in the
... ulated in the melanoma cell lines but not in normal melanocytes. Induction levels correlated with the metastatic potential of the cell lines. These data were confirmed by Northern blot analysis. In contrast, induction of vascular endothelial growth factor by hypoxia was equally strong in the examined highly aggressive melanoma cell lines and in one nonaggressive cell line. Other angiogenic factors tested as well as the melanoma growth stimulatory activity (Gro-alpha) showed no up-regulation. Thus, in the present study, hypoxia-induced up-regulation in melanoma cells was only observed for ANG and vascular endothelial growth factor. Immunohistochemical studies showed that 8 of 10 melanomas and all 15 metastases were positive for ANG, particularly in the vicinity of small vessels, whereas all benign nevi were negative. Reverse transcription-PCR detected only weak ANG mRNA in nevi but strong signals in primary melanomas and metastases. In conclusion, we demonstrate for the first time enhanced expression of ANG in highly metastatic cell lines as well as in melanomas and metastases in vivo, suggesting that ANG expression is associated with the metastatic potential.