Grant: $39,590 - National Institutes of Health - Jun. 18, 2009
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Award Description: Inflammation is a key process in normal wound repair. Upon wounding, cytokines are activated and chemoattract leukocytes, including macrophages, to the wound site. Macrophages are key for the proper formation of granulation tissue because they clean up dead cells in the wound and produce a plethora of cytokines that initiate formation of the healing tissue. While many detailed mechanisms involved early in inflammation are known, those involved in resolution of inflammation are poorly understood. Understanding how inflammation ends is as important as understanding its beginning because prolongation of inflammation leads to impaired healing and chronic inflammatory conditions. VEGF is a key factor in wound healing and is primarily known for its role in angiogenesis. However, recently VEGF is emerging as a regulator of immunity and inflammation. We have discovered that VEGF contributes to resolution of macrophage- induced inflammation during wound healing and that it stimulates macrophage apoptosis in culture. We have also shown that VEGF stimulates the expression of TNFSF14/LIGHT in human macrophages. LIGHT is a member of the TNF superfamily of cytokines known to regulate co-stimulation of T cells as well as apoptosis in mucosal tumors. Our findings point to a novel cytokine-modulated pathway involved in resolution of the inflammatory response. In the work proposed here we address the consequences of these newly discovered functions of VEGF in resolution of inflammation during wound healing. We hypothesize that a novel function of VEGF in the healing process is modulation of macrophage survival in the damaged tissue and that LIGHT is a critical mediator of this process. Specifically, we will: (1) Determine whether VEGF induces macrophage apoptosis in vivo and stimulates LIGHT expression during healing and (2) Determine the relationship between VEGF-induced macrophage cell death and LIGHT. We will use a combination of cultured human macrophages, normal and genetically-modified mice, coupled with agonists/antagonists of VEGF- and LIGHT-dependant pathways. Histochemical and immunological techniques, ELISA, multiplex RT-PCR and siRNA technology will be used. The work proposed is novel because it reveals previously unknown functions of VEGF and it is important because it may facilitate the development of new therapies for poorly-healing wounds as well as other conditions characterized by excessive inflammation and for tumors in which VEGF is upregulated. Because resolution of inflammation occurs poorly or not at all in most abnormal healing situations, this line of investigation is significant for health because it identifies a novel strategy for improving impaired healing, a critical medical area. This grant provided summer research experiences for three undergraduate students in health-related scientific research.
Project Description: As described in Award Description
Jobs Summary: Graduate Research Assistant (Total jobs reported: 1)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Jun. 18, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.