The endogenous estrogen 17β-estradiol (E2) is a key factor in promoting endothelial healing and angiogenesis. Recently, proangiogenic signals including vascular endothelial growth factor and others have been shown to converge onto endothelial cell metabolism. Because inhibition of the glycolytic enzyme activator phosphofructokinase-2/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase 3 (PFKFB3) reduces pathological angiogenesis and estrogen receptor (ER) signaling stimulates glucose uptake and glycolysis by inducing PFKFB3 in breast cancer, we hypothesized that E2 triggers angiogenesis in endothelial cells via rapid ER signaling that requires PFKFB3 as a downstream effector. We report that treatment with the selective G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER1) agonist G-1 (10-10-10-7 M) mimicked the chemotactic and proangiogenic effect of E2 as measured in a number of short-term angiogenesis assays in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). In addition, E2 treatment upregulated PFKFB3 expression in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Such an effect peaked at 3 h, was also induced by G-1 and abolished by pretreatment with the GPER1 antagonist G-15 or GPER1 siRNA, consistent with engagement of membrane ER. Experiments with the PFKFB3 inhibitor 3-(3-pyridinyl)-1-(4-pyridinyl)-2-propen-1-one (3PO) showed that PFKFB3 activity was required for estrogen-mediated HUVEC migration via GPER1. In conclusion, E2-induced angiogenesis was mediated at least in part by the membrane GPER1 and required upregulation of the glycolytic activator PFKFB3 in HUVECs. These findings unravel a previously unrecognized mechanism of estrogen-dependent endocrine-metabolic crosstalk in HUVECs and may have implications in angiogenesis occurring in ischemic or hypoxic tissues.
- The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics