Acidosis inhibits endothelial cell apoptosis and function and induces basic fibroblast growth factor and vascular endothelial growth factor expression

Daniela D'Arcangelo, Francesco Facchiano, Laura Maria Barlucchi, Guido Melillo, Barbara Illi, Lucia Testolin, Carlo Gaetano, Maurizio C. Capogrossi

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Endothelial cells are exposed to an acidotic environment in a variety of pathological and physiological conditions. However, the effect of acidosis on endothelial cell function is still largely unknown, and it was evaluated in the present study. Bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs) were grown in bicarbonate buffer equilibrated either with 20% CO2 (pH 7.0, acidosis) or 5% CO2 (pH 7.4, control). Acidosis inhibited BAEC proliferation in 10% FCS, whereas by day 7 in serum-free medium, cell number was 3-fold higher in acidotic cells than in control cells. Serum deprivation enhanced BAEC apoptosis, and apoptotic cell death was markedly inhibited by acidosis. Additionally, acidosis inhibited FCS-stimulated migration in a modified Boyden chamber assay and FCS-stimulated differentiation into capillary-like structures on reconstituted basement membrane proteins. Conditioned media from BAECs cultured for 48 hours either at pH 7.0 or pH 7.4 enhanced BAEC proliferation and migration at pH 7.4, and both effects were more marked with conditioned medium from BAECs grown in acidotic than in control conditions. Acidosis enhanced vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) mRNA expression as well as bFGF secretion, and a blocking bFGF antibody inhibited enhanced BAEC migration in response to conditioned medium from acidotic cells. These results show that acidosis protects endothelial cells from apoptosis and inhibits their proangiogenic behavior despite enhanced VEGF and bFGF mRNA expression and bFGF secretion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-318
Number of pages7
JournalCirculation Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 18 2000



  • Acidosis
  • Apoptosis
  • Endothelium
  • Growth factors
  • Ischemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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