The axon guidance cues semaphorins (Semas) and their receptors plexins have been shown to regulate both physiological and pathological angiogenesis. Sema4A plays an important role in the immune system by inducing T cell activation, but to date, the role of Sema4A in regulating the function of macrophages during the angiogenic and inflammatory processes remains unclear. In this study, we show that macrophage activation by TLR ligands LPS and polyinosinic- polycytidylic acid induced a time-dependent increase of Sema4A and its receptors PlexinB2 and PlexinD1. Moreover, in a thioglycollate-induced peritonitis mouse model, Sema4Awas detected in circulating Ly6C high inflammatory monocytes and peritoneal macrophages. Acting via PlexinD1, exogenous Sema4A strongly increased macro-phage migration. Of note, Sema4A-activated PlexinD1 enhanced the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor-A, but not of inflammatory chemokines. Sema4A-stimulated macrophages were able to activate vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 and the PI3K/serine/threonine kinase Akt pathway in endothelial cells and to sustain their migration and in vivo angiogenesis. Remarkably, in an in vivo cardiac ischemia/reperfusion mouse model, Sema4A was highly expressed in macrophages recruited at the injured area. We conclude that Sema4A activates a specialized and restricted genetic program in macrophages able to sustain angiogenesis and participates in their recruitment and activation in inflammatory injuries.
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