Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha, a potent inhibitor of endothelial cell growth in vitro, is angiogenic in vivo. Therefore, it was suggested that the angiogenic properties of this agent might be consequent to the production of secondary mediators. Since TNF-alpha stimulates the synthesis of platelet-activating factor (PAF) by monocytes and endothelial cells, we investigated the possible involvement of PAF in the angiogenic effect of TNF-alpha. Angiogenesis was studied in a murine model in which Matrigel was used as a vehicle for the delivery of mediators. In this model the angiogenesis induced by TNF-alpha was shown to be inhibited by WEB 2170, a specific PAF receptor antagonist. Moreover, in mice injected with TNF-alpha, PAF was detected within the Matrigel, 6 and 24 h after TNF-alpha injection. The synthesis of PAF within the Matrigel was concomitant with the early migration of endothelial cells and infiltration of monocytes. No infiltration of lymphocytes or polymorphonuclear leukocytes was observed. Synthetic PAF as well as PAF extracted and purified from mice challenged with TNF-alpha induced a rapid angiogenic response, inhibited by WEB 2170. These results suggest that the angiogenic effect of TNF-alpha is, at least in part, mediated by PAF synthesized from monocytes and/or endothelial cells infiltrating the Matrigel plug.

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