Brain-derived neurotrophic factor increases expression of MnSOD in human circulating angiogenic cells

Tongrong He, Zvonimir S. Katusic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Existing evidence suggests that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) promotes survival and proliferation of endothelial cells, stimulates mobilization of hematopoietic progenitors, and induces angiogenesis in ischemic tissues. However, the mechanisms underlying vascular protective function of BDNF are poorly understood. We hypothesized that BDNF increases antioxidant capacity of circulating angiogenic cells. Human mononuclear cells were isolated from peripheral blood of 30 healthy male volunteers (48 ± 2. years old), and cultured in endothelial growth medium-2 for 4-5. days. The attached cells (so called early endothelial progenitor cells [early EPCs], or circulating angiogenic cells) expressed BDNF receptors, tropomyosin-related kinase B and p75 neurotrophin receptor. Treatment of early EPCs with recombinant human BDNF for 24. h significantly increased manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) expression, but had no effect on expression of other antioxidant enzymes including copper zinc SOD (CuZnSOD), catalase, and glutathione peroxidase-1. BDNF stimulated phosphorylation of IκB kinase (IKK)α/β and stress-activated protein kinase/c-Jun N-terminal kinase (SAPK/JNK); however it did not activate p38, Erk, or AKT. Treatment with nuclear factor κB inhibitor, PDTC, or JNK inhibitor, SP600125, attenuated BDNF-augmented MnSOD protein expression. BDNF treatment inhibited apoptosis induced by a superoxide anion generator LY83583, and serum starvation-induced cell detachment. These findings suggest that BDNF protects EPCs by increasing expression of MnSOD thereby enhancing their antioxidant capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-371
Number of pages6
JournalMicrovascular Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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