Combining TMZ and SB225002 induces changes of CXCR2 and VEGFR signalling in primary human endothelial cells in vitro
- Ruth M. Urbantat
- Claudius Jelgersma
- Peter Vajkoczy
- Susan Brandenburg
- Gueliz Acker
Affiliations: Department of Neurosurgery, Charité‑Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt‑Universität zu Berlin, D‑10117 Berlin, Germany
- Published online on: July 19, 2022 https://doi.org/10.3892/or.2022.8373
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Standard of care therapy for glioblastoma (GBM) consisting of surgical removal, temozolomide (TMZ) and radiotherapy fails to cure the disease and median survival is limited to 15 months. Therapeutic approaches targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)‑mediated angiogenesis, one of the major drivers of tumour growth, have not prolonged patient survival as reported in clinical studies. Apart from VEGFR signalling, proangiogenic C‑X‑C motif chemokine receptor 2 (CXCR2) is of special interest as its ligands C‑X‑C motif chemokine ligand 2 (CXCL2) and interleukin‑8 (IL8) are upregulated and associated with reduced survival in GBM patients. As CXCR2 is also expressed by endothelial cells, the aim of the present study was to elucidate the effect of combination therapy on gene and protein expression of primary human endothelial cells (HUVECs). To mimic the GBM specific CXCL2/IL8 oversupply environment [referred to as stimulation (STIM)], HUVECs were treated with a cocktail of CXCL2/IL8 and/or TMZ and/or CXCR2‑antagonist SB225002 (SB). In brief, six treatment conditions were utilized: i) Control, ii) STIM (CXCL2/IL8), iii) TMZ + SB, iv) STIM + TMZ, v) STIM + SB, vi) STIM + TMZ + SB followed by either RNA‑isolation and RT‑qPCR for BAX, BCL2, vascular endothelial growth receptor (VEGFR)1/2, VEGF, CXCR1/2, CXCL2 and IL8 or immunofluorescence staining for VEGFR2 and CXCR2. SB and TMZ led to morphological changes of HUVECs and downregulated antiapoptotic BCL2 in vitro. In addition, gene expression of the alternative proangiogenic CXCL2/IL8/CXCR2 signalling pathway was significantly altered by the combination therapy, while the VEGF/VEGFR1/2 axis was only mildly affected. Furthermore, VEGFR2 and CXCR2 gene and protein expression regulation differed. VEGFR2 was not altered at the gene expression level, while combination therapy with TMZ and SB led to a 74% upregulation of VEGFR2 at the protein level. By contrast, CXCR2 was upregulated 5‑fold by the combination therapy at the gene expression level and downregulated by 72.5% at the protein expression level. The present study provided first insights into the molecular changes of two major proangiogenic pathways in primary endothelial cells during treatment with TMZ and SB. Different gene and protein expression levels of the proangiogenic receptors CXCR2 and VEGFR2 in vitro must be taken into consideration in future studies.