Involvement of caspase 8 and c-FLIPL in the proangiogenic effects of the tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)

Giuseppina Cantarella, Giulia Di Benedetto, Domenico Ribatti, Gloria Saccani-Jotti, Renato Bernardini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), a cytokine of the tumour necrosis factor superfamily, is a potent cell-apoptosis inducer, although its effects vary as a function of concentration. In fact, low concentrations of TRAIL are associated with non-apoptotic effects, such as cell proliferation. Here, the effects of TRAIL at different concentrations have been evaluated on mitogenesis and migration on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) in vitro, as well as in the chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) angiogenesis model in vivo. At low concentrations, TRAIL promoted either mitogenesis or migration of HUVEC, evaluated using the wound healing method. Cleavage of caspase 8 was evaluated along with expression of the caspase 8-like molecule, cellular FLICE-inhibitory protein (long form) (c-FLIPL). Low concentrations of TRAIL failed to induce caspase 8 processing, whereas high concentrations induced apoptosis of HUVEC and activation of caspase 8. Moreover, TRAIL induced a significant angiogenic response in the CAM assay in vivo, comparable with that of vascular endothelial growth factor. These data suggest that the non-apoptotic effects of TRAIL include mitogenesis and increased mobility of endothelial cells, and eventually angiogenesis. In addition, the results demonstrate that the c-FLIPL level is also modulated by differences in TRAIL concentration, suggesting its involvement in the divergent effects of TRAIL. In conclusion, this study envisions a proangiogenic role of TRAIL, suggesting that TRAIL may represent a target for pharmacological manipulation. The apoptosis inducer TRAIL displays also non-apoptotic effects. Mechanisms of such divergence were studied on human endothelial cells and in the chick embryo angiogenesis model. TRAIL promoted both mitogenesis and migration of endothelial cells, by modulation of caspase-8-c-FLIPL interactions, and, moreover, induced significant angiogenesis in the chick embryo. Proangiogenic effects of TRAIL could thus represent a clou for pharmacological intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1505-1513
Number of pages9
JournalFEBS Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • cell migration
  • chorioallantoic membrane
  • endothelial cells
  • proliferation
  • signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Involvement of caspase 8 and c-FLIPL in the proangiogenic effects of the tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this