Open Access Open Badges Research article

A model of anti-angiogenesis: differential transcriptosome profiling of microvascular endothelial cells from diffuse systemic sclerosis patients

Betti Giusti1, Gabriella Fibbi2, Francesca Margheri2, Simona Serratì2, Luciana Rossi1, Filippo Poggi1, Ilaria Lapini1, Alberto Magi1, Angela Del Rosso3, Marina Cinelli3, Serena Guiducci3, Bashar Kahaleh4, Laura Bazzichi5, Stefano Bombardieri5, Marco Matucci-Cerinic3, Gian Franco Gensini16, Mario Del Rosso2* and Rosanna Abbate1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical and Surgical Critical Care – DENOTHE, University of Florence, Florence, Italy

2 Department of Experimental Pathology and Oncology – DENOTHE, University of Florence, Florence, Italy

3 Department of Internal Medicine, University of Florence, Florence, Italy

4 Division of Rheumatology, Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, Ohio, USA

5 Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

6 Centro S Maria agli Ulivi, Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, ONLUS IRCCS, Impruneta, Florence, Italy

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2006, 8:R115  doi:10.1186/ar2002

Published: 19 July 2006


The objective of this work was to identify genes involved in impaired angiogenesis by comparing the transcriptosomes of microvascular endothelial cells from normal subjects and patients affected by systemic sclerosis (SSc), as a unique human model disease characterized by insufficient angiogenesis. Total RNAs, prepared from skin endothelial cells of clinically healthy subjects and SSc patients affected by the diffuse form of the disease, were pooled, labeled with fluorochromes, and hybridized to 14,000 70 mer oligonucleotide microarrays. Genes were analyzed based on gene expression levels and categorized into different functional groups based on the description of the Gene Ontology (GO) consortium to identify statistically significant terms. Quantitative PCR was used to validate the array results. After data processing and application of the filtering criteria, the analyzable features numbered 6,724. About 3% of analyzable transcripts (199) were differentially expressed, 141 more abundantly and 58 less abundantly in SSc endothelial cells. Surprisingly, SSc endothelial cells over-express pro-angiogenic transcripts, but also show up-regulation of genes exerting a powerful negative control, and down-regulation of genes critical to cell migration and extracellular matrix-cytoskeleton coupling, all alterations that provide an impediment to correct angiogenesis. We also identified transcripts controlling haemostasis, inflammation, stimulus transduction, transcription, protein synthesis, and genome organization. An up-regulation of transcripts related to protein degradation and ubiquitination was observed in SSc endothelial cells. We have validated data on the main anti-angiogenesis-related genes by RT-PCR, western blotting, in vitro angiogenesis and immunohistochemistry. These observations indicate that microvascular endothelial cells of patients with SSc show abnormalities in a variety of genes that are able to account for defective angiogenesis.