Human beta-defensin-2 (hBD-2) is an antimicrobial peptide which is released upon microbial invasion and contributes to mucosal and epithelial defense modulating both innate and adaptive immunity. We found that hBD-2 stimulates chemotaxis of human endothelial cells with an extent similar to that exerted by the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The hBD-2-dependent chemotaxis is dose-dependent, maximal effect being reached at 500 ng/ml concentration. In the absence of any growth factor, hBD-2 favors wound healing of endothelial cells, causing an about 2-fold increase in the speed of wound closure with respect to the control. Furthermore, hBD-2 promotes endothelial cell proliferation, although at a minor extent as compared to VEGF. When plated on matrigel enriched with angiogenic factors, endothelial cells form a three-dimensional network of tubes that gives rise to capillary-like structures. Similarly to VEGF, hBD-2 promotes capillary-like tube formation of human endothelial cells. Pro-angiogenic effect promoted by hBD-2 is dose-dependent, peaks at a 500 ng/ml hBD-2 concentration and is prevented by blocking anti-αvβ3 monoclonal antibody. However, hBD-2-induced pro-angiogenic activity is not due to endogenously produced VEGF because it is not prevented by neutralizing anti-VEGF antibodies. Overall, our findings suggest that hBD-2 could link inflammation and the host defense through its pro-angiogenic activity.
- Endothelial cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience