A new chromogranin A-dependent angiogenic switch activated by thrombin

Luca Crippa, Mimma Bianco, Barbara Colombo, Anna M. Gasparri, Elisabetta Ferrero, Y. Peng Loh, Flavio Curnis, Angelo Corti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Angiogenesis, the formation of blood vessels from pre-existing vasculature, is regulated by a complex interplay of anti and proangiogenic factors. We found that physiologic levels of circulating chromogranin A (CgA), a protein secreted by the neuroendocrine system, can inhibit angiogenesis in various in vitro and in vivo experimental models. Structure-activity studies showed that a functional antiangiogenic site is located in the C-terminal region, whereas a latent anti-angiogenic site, activated by cleavage of Q76-K77 bond, is present in the N-terminal domain. Cleavage of CgA by thrombin abrogated its anti-angiogenic activity and generated fragments (lacking the C-terminal region) endowed of potent proangiogenic activity. Hematologic studies showed that biologically relevant levels of forms of full-length CgA and CgA1-76 (anti-angiogenic) and lower levels of fragments lacking the C-terminal region (proangiogenic) are present in circulation in healthy subjects. Blood coagulation caused, in a thrombin-dependent manner, almost complete conversion of CgA into fragments lacking the C-terminal region. These results suggest that the CgA-related circulating polypeptides form a balance of anti and proangiogenic factors tightlyregulated byproteolysis. Thrombin-induced alteration of this balance could provide a novel mechanism for triggering angiogenesis in pathophysiologic conditions characterized by prothrombin activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-402
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 10 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Immunology


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