Establishing a link between endothelial cell metabolism and vascular behaviour in a type 1 diabetes mouse model

Carolina Silva, Vasco Sampaio-Pinto, Sara Andrade, Ilda Rodrigues, Raquel Costa, Susana Guerreiro, Eugenia Carvalho, Perpétua Pinto-Do-Ó, Diana S. Nascimento, Raquel Soares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aims: Vascular complications contribute significantly to the extensive morbidity and mortality rates observed in people with diabetes. Despite well known that the diabetic kidney and heart exhibit imbalanced angiogenesis, the mechanisms implicated in this angiogenic paradox remain unknown. In this study, we examined the angiogenic and metabolic gene expression profile (GEP) of endothelial cells (ECs) isolated from a mouse model with type1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Methods: ECs were isolated from kidneys and hearts of healthy and streptozocin (STZ)-treated mice. RNA was then extracted for molecular studies. GEP of 84 angiogenic and 84 AMP-activated Protein Kinase (AMPK)-dependent genes were examined by microarrays. Real time PCR confirmed the changes observed in significantly altered genes. Microvessel density (MVD) was analysed by immunohistochemistry, fibrosis was assessed by the Sirius red histological staining and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) was quantified by ELISA. Results: The relative percentage of ECs and MVD were increased in the kidneys of T1DM animals whereas the opposite trend was observed in the hearts of diabetic mice. Accordingly, the majority of AMPK-associated genes were upregulated in kidneys and downregulated in hearts of these animals. Angiogenic GEP revealed significant differences in Tgfβ, Notch signaling and Timp2 in both diabetic organs. These findings were in agreement with the angiogenesis histological assays. Fibrosis was augmented in both organs in diabetic as compared to healthy animals. Conclusion: Altogether, our findings indicate, for the first time, that T1DM heart and kidney ECs present opposite metabolic cues, which are accompanied by distinct angiogenic patterns. These findings enable the development of innovative organ-specific therapeutic strategies targeting diabetic-associated vascular disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-516
Number of pages14
JournalCellular Physiology and Biochemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbohydrate and lipid metabolism
  • Cell sorting
  • Endothelium metabolism
  • Genomics
  • Macrovascular complications
  • Micro


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