Endothelial Insulin Receptors Promote VEGF-A Signaling via ERK1/2 and Sprouting Angiogenesis

Andrew M.N. Walker, Nele Warmke, Ben Mercer, Nicole T. Watt, Romana Mughal, Jessica Smith, Stacey Galloway, Natalie J. Haywood, Taha Soomro, Kathryn J. Griffin, Stephen B. Wheatcroft, Nadira Y. Yuldasheva, David J. Beech, Peter Carmeliet, Mark T. Kearney, Richard M. Cubbon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Endothelial insulin receptors (Insr) promote sprouting angiogenesis, although the underpinning cellular and molecular mechanisms are unknown. Comparing mice with whole-body insulin receptor haploinsufficiency (Insr+/-) against littermate controls, we found impaired limb perfusion and muscle capillary density after inducing hind-limb ischemia; this was in spite of increased expression of the proangiogenic growth factor Vegfa. Insr+/- neonatal retinas exhibited reduced tip cell number and branching complexity during developmental angiogenesis, which was also found in separate studies of mice with endothelium-restricted Insr haploinsufficiency. Functional responses to vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A), including in vitro angiogenesis, were also impaired in aortic rings and pulmonary endothelial cells from Insr+/- mice. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells with shRNA-mediated knockdown of Insr also demonstrated impaired functional angiogenic responses to VEGF-A. VEGF-A signaling to Akt and endothelial nitric oxide synthase was intact, but downstream signaling to extracellular signal-reduced kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) was impaired, as was VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) internalization, which is required specifically for signaling to ERK1/2. Hence, endothelial insulin receptors facilitate the functional response to VEGF-A during angiogenic sprouting and are required for appropriate signal transduction from VEGFR-2 to ERK1/2.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbqab104
Number of pages15
Issue number8
Early online date25 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Endothelial Insulin Receptors Promote VEGF-A Signaling via ERK1/2 and Sprouting Angiogenesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this