The effects of adiponectin and leptin on human endothelial cell proliferation: a live-cell study

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The effect of adiponectin and leptin on the proliferation of the human microvascular endothelial cell line (HMEC-1) was studied in the absence or presence of fetal bovine serum (FBS). The participation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt (PI-3K/Akt) pathways in this effect were evaluated. We studied the effect of both adipokines on the motility, mitosis, proliferation and cell death processes of HMEC-1 cells using live-cell imaging techniques. Adiponectin but not leptin further increased the proliferative effect induced by FBS on HMEC-1. This effect seems to be the consequence of an increase in the mitotic index in adiponectin-treated cells when compared to untreated ones. The presence of either the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitor (PD98059), or PI-3K inhibitor (LY294002), reduced the effect of adiponectin in a dose-dependent manner. Neither adipokine was able to affect HMEC-1 proliferation in FBS-free conditions. Duration of mitosis, cell motility and the cell death process were similar in all conditions. These data suggest that adiponectin and leptin exert different effects on endothelial cell function. Adiponectin was able to potentiate proliferation of HMEC-1. This effect involves the activation of both PI3-K/Akt and ERK/MAPK pathways. However, it seems to exert minimal effects on HMEC-1 function in the case of leptin