Vasohibin-2 modulates tumor onset in the gastrointestinal tract by normalizing tumor angiogenesis

Shuji Kitahara, Yasuhiro Suzuki, Masae Morishima, Asuka Yoshii, Sachiko Kikuta, Kazuhiko Shimizu, Shunichi Morikawa, Yasufumi Sato, Taichi Ezaki

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Vasohibin-2 (VASH2) has been identified as an endogenous and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-independent angiogenic factor that is highly expressed in tumor cells. In the present study, we aimed to determine whether pre-existing vascular changes can be used to predict tumor transformation as benign or malignant. We sought to characterize microvascular changes and tumor development in the intestinal tract of ApcMin/+ mice and ApcMin/+/Vash2-/- mice.Methods: ApcMin/+ mice provide a unique orthotopic model for the development of spontaneous adenomatous polyposis and subsequent carcinomas, a phenomenon termed the adenoma-carcinoma sequence. ApcMin/+ mice were mated with Vash2-/- mice with a mixed C57BL/6 background and the resulting pups were screened for the Min mutation and for the Vash2-/- gene by PCR. Intestinal tumors from ApcMin/+ mice and ApcMin/+/Vash2-/- mice were removed and either frozen or epon-embedded for subsequent analyses. For 3-dimensional imaging using confocal laser-scanning microscopy and transmission electron microscopy, cryosections were made, and immunofluorescent staining for various markers was performed.Results: We found that structural abnormalities in tumor vessels from benign tumors resembled those in malignant tumors. In addition, a novel angiogenic factor, vasohibin-2 (VASH2) protein, was detected around tumor blood vessels in late-stage adenomas and adenocarcinomas, but was absent from early-stage adenomas in ApcMin/+ mice. Tumors used to examine endogenous VASH2 (derived from CMT93 colon carcinomas) were less vascularized in Vash2-/- mice and were more regular than those seen in wild-type (WT) mice. In addition, tumors in Vash2-/- mice were smaller than those in WT mice. Furthermore, cross-breeding of mice homozygous for a deletion of Vash2 with mice heterozygous for the APC mutation resulted in animals that showed a significant decrease in the number of polyps in the small intestine.Conclusion: We propose that VASH2 may modulate the onset of tumors in the gastrointestinal tract by regulating tumor angiogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number99
JournalMolecular Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 May 4


  • Angiogenesis
  • Tumor vessel
  • Vasohibin-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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