Int J Biol Sci 2014; 10(2):160-170. doi:10.7150/ijbs.6719

Research Paper

Inhibition of Lymphangiogenesis of Endothelial Progenitor Cells with VEGFR-3 siRNA Delivered with PEI-alginate Nanoparticles

Ting Li, Guo-dong Wang, Yu-zhen Tan, Hai-jie Wang

Department of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Shanghai Medical School of Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China


Lymphangiogenesis is implicated in lymphatic metastasis of tumor cells. Recently, growing evidences show that endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are involved in lymphangiogenesis. This study has investigated effects of VEGF-C/VEGFR-3 (vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3) signaling pathway on EPC differentiation and effectiveness of inhibiting lymphatic formation of EPCs with VEGFR-3 siRNA delivered in PEI (polyethylenimine)-alginate nanoparticles. CD34+VEGFR-3+ EPCs were sorted from mononuclear cells of human cord blood. Under induction with VEGF-C, the cells differentiated toward lymphatic endothelial cells. The nanoparticles were formulated with 25 kDa branched PEI and alginate. The size and surface charge of PEI-alginate nanoparticles loading VEGFR-3 siRNA (N/P = 16) are 139.1 nm and 7.56 mV respectively. VEGFR-3 siRNA specifically inhibited expression of VEGFR-3 mRNA in the cells. After treatment with PEI-alginate/siRNA nanocomplexes, EPCs could not differentiate into lymphatic endothelial cells, and proliferation, migration and lymphatic formation of EPC-derived cells were suppressed significantly. These results demonstrate that VEGFR-3 signaling plays an important role in differentiation of CD34+VEGFR-3+ EPCs. VEGFR-3 siRNA delivered with PEI-alginate nanoparticles can effectively inhibit differentiation and lymphangiogenesis of EPCs. Inhibiting VEGFR-3 signaling with siRNA/nanocomplexes would be a potential therapy for suppression of tumor lymphangiogenesis and lymphatic metastasis.

Keywords: VEGFR-3, endothelial progenitor cells, nanoparticles, polyethyleneimine, alginate.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
How to cite this article:
Li T, Wang Gd, Tan Yz, Wang Hj. Inhibition of Lymphangiogenesis of Endothelial Progenitor Cells with VEGFR-3 siRNA Delivered with PEI-alginate Nanoparticles. Int J Biol Sci 2014; 10(2):160-170. doi:10.7150/ijbs.6719. Available from