Low-dose 6-bromoindirubin-3′-oxime induces partial dedifferentiation of endothelial cells to promote increased neovascularization

Erin E. Kohler, Jugajyoti Baruah, Norifumi Urao, Masuko Ushio-Fukai, Tohru Fukai, Ishita Chatterjee, Kishore K. Wary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Endothelial cell (EC) dedifferentiation in relation to neovascularization is a poorly understood process. In this report, we addressed the role of Wnt signaling in the mechanisms of neovascularization in adult tissues. Here, we show that a low-dose of 6-bromoindirubin-3′-oxime (BIO), a competitive inhibitor of glycogen synthase kinase-3β, induced the stabilization of β-catenin and its subsequent direct interaction with the transcription factor NANOG in the nucleus of ECs. This event induced loss of VE-cadherin from the adherens junctions, increased EC proliferation accompanied by asymmetric cell division (ACD), and formed cellular aggregates in hanging drop assays indicating the acquisition of a dedifferentiated state. In a chromatin immunoprecipitation assay, nuclear NANOG protein bound to the NANOG- and VEGFR2-promoters in ECs, and the addition of BIO activated the NANOG-promoter-luciferase reporter system in a cell-based assay. Consequently, NANOG-knockdown decreased BIO-induced NOTCH-1 expression, thereby decreasing cell proliferation, ACD, and neovascularization. In a Matrigel plug assay, BIO induced increased neovascularization, secondary to the presence of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Moreover, in a mouse model of hind limb ischemia, BIO augmented neovascularization that was coupled with increased expression of NOTCH-1 in ECs and increased smooth muscle α-actin + cell recruitment around the neovessels. Thus, these results demonstrate the ability of a low-dose of BIO to augment neovascularization secondary to VEGF, a process that was accompanied by a partial dedifferentiation of ECs via β-catenin and the NANOG signaling pathway. Stem Cells 2014;32:1538-1552

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1538-1552
Number of pages15
JournalStem Cells
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • 6-Bromoindirubin-3′-oxime
  • Dedifferentiation
  • Endothelial cells
  • Hind limb ischemia
  • Neovascularization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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