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Inhibition of microvascular endothelial apoptosis in tissue explants by serum albumin.

Zoellner H, Hou JY, Lovery M, Kingham J, Srivastava M, Bielek E, Vanyek E, Binder BR.

Microvasc Res 1999 Mar;57(2):162-73

Plasma factors appear to inhibit endothelial cell (EC) apoptosis in vivo so that flow influences microvascular form. The identity of these factors has not, however, been established. Earlier, we reported that apoptosis in isolated, serum-deprived human EC is inhibited by albumin (Alb). Here, we demonstrate likely biological relevance of this to vascular remodelling in experiments with tissue explants. Rat skin explants were incubated in medium M199 with or without serum, bovine Alb, or human Alb. EC in paraffin sections of explants were labelled by lectin histochemistry and the relative proportion of apoptotic was EC determined. Apoptosis was confirmed by transmission electron microscopy and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase labelling. Serum-free culture induced EC apoptosis (P < 0.02) and this was strongly inhibited by Alb at physiological concentrations (P < 0.01). This was not a nonspecific protein effect, as mercaptoethanol denaturation destroyed the activity and ovalbumin was not protective. Also, protection was not due to serum contaminants, as recombinant human Alb had activity identical to that of native material. The dose response was identical for all Alb preparations tested, with maximal activity at physiological concentrations. Protection was not limited to rat tissue as similar results were obtained with human gingival explants. These data support a role for Alb as a plasma antiapoptotic factor for EC in tissues. Copyright 1999 Academic Press.


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