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A Novel High Content Angiogenesis Assay Reveals That Lacidipine, L-Type Calcium Channel Blocker, Induces In Vitro Vascular Lumen Expansion

journal contribution
submitted on 2024-04-22, 05:42 and posted on 2024-04-22, 05:43 authored by Dorota A. Nawrot, Lutfiye Yildiz Ozer, Ayman Al Haj Zen

Angiogenesis is a critical cellular process toward establishing a functional circulatory system capable of delivering oxygen and nutrients to the tissue in demand. In vitro angiogenesis assays represent an important tool for elucidating the biology of blood vessel formation and for drug discovery applications. Herein, we developed a novel, high content 2D angiogenesis assay that captures endothelial morphogenesis’s cellular processes, including lumen formation. In this assay, endothelial cells form luminized vascular-like structures in 48 h. The assay was validated for its specificity and performance. Using the optimized assay, we conducted a phenotypic screen of a library containing 150 FDA-approved cardiovascular drugs to identify modulators of lumen formation. The screening resulted in several L-type calcium channel blockers being able to expand the lumen space compared to controls. Among these blockers, Lacidipine was selected for follow-up studies. We found that the endothelial cells treated with Lacidipine showed enhanced activity of caspase-3 in the luminal space. Pharmacological inhibition of caspase activity abolished the Lacidipine-enhancing effect on lumen formation, suggesting the involvement of apoptosis. Using a Ca2+ biosensor, we found that Lacipidine reduces the intracellular Ca2+ oscillations amplitude in the endothelial cells at the early stage, whereas Lacidipine blocks these Ca2+ oscillations completely at the late stage. The inhibition of MLCK exhibits a phenotype of lumen expansion similar to that of Lacidipine. In conclusion, this study describes a novel high-throughput phenotypic assay to study angiogenesis. Our findings suggest that calcium signalling plays an essential role during lumen morphogenesis. L-type Ca2+ channel blockers could be used for more efficient angiogenesis-mediated therapies.

Other Information

Published in: International Journal of Molecular Sciences
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  • English



Publication Year

  • 2022

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Health and Life Sciences - HBKU

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