We have previously demonstrated that low-energy extracorporeal cardiac shock wave (SW) therapy improves myocardial ischemia through enhanced myocardial angiogenesis in a porcine model of chronic myocardial ischemia and in patients with refractory angina pectoris. However, the detailed molecular mechanisms for the SW-induced angiogenesis remain unclear. In this study, we thus examined the effects of SW irradiation on intracellular signaling pathways in vitro. Cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were treated with 800 shots of low-energy SW (1 Hz at an energy level of 0.03 mJ/mm2). The SW therapy significantly upregulated mRNA expression and protein levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). The SW therapy also enhanced phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (Erk1/2) and Akt. Furthermore, the SW therapy enhanced phosphorylation of caveolin-1 and the expression of HUTS-4 that represents β1-integrin activity. These results suggest that caveolin-1 and β1-integrin are involved in the SW-induced activation of angiogenic signaling pathways. To further examine the signaling pathways involved in the SW-induced angiogenesis, HUVECs were transfected with siRNA of either β1-integrin or caveolin-1. Knockdown of either caveolin-1 or β1-integrin suppressed the SW-induced phosphorylation of Erk1/2 and Akt and upregulation of VEGF and eNOS. Knockdown of either caveolin-1 or β1-integrin also suppressed SW-induced enhancement of HUVEC migration in scratch assay. These results suggest that activation of mechanosensors on cell membranes, such as caveolin-1 and β1-integrin, and subsequent phosphorylation of Erk and Akt may play pivotal roles in the SW-induced angiogenesis.
- Shock wave