Using an in vitro model in which endothelial cells can be induced to invade a three-dimensional collagen gel to form capillary-like tubular structures, we demonstrate that leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) inhibits angiogenesis in vitro. The inhibitory effect was observed on both bovine aortic endothelial (BAE) and bovine microvascular endothelial (BME) cell, and occurred irrespective of the angiogenic stimulus, which included basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), the synergistic effect of the two in combination, or the tumor promoter phorbol myristate acetate. LIF inhibited bFGF- and VEGF-induced proliferation in BAE and BME cells. In addition, LIF inhibited BAE but not BME cell migration in a conventional two-dimensional assay. Finally, LIF decreased the proteolytic activity of BAE and BME cells and increased their expression of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1. These results demonstrate that LIF inhibits angiogenesis in vitro, an effect that can be correlated with a LIF-mediated decrease in endothelial cell proliferation, migration and extracellular proteolysis.

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