Endogenous oxidative stress, but not ER stress, induces hypoxia-independent VEGF120 release through PI3K-dependent pathways in 3T3-L1 adipocytes


  • Disclosure: The authors declared no conflict of interest.

  • Funding agencies: This study was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (to H. I.) and by a grant from the Japan Private School Promotion Foundation.

Correspondence: Hitoshi Ishida (ishida@ks.kyorin-u.ac.jp)



Expressions of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are increased in obese adipocytes and is secreted from obese adipose tissue through hypoxia-independent pathways. Therefore, we investigated the hypoxia-independent mechanism underlying increased expression and release of VEGF in obese adipocytes.

Design and Methods

We compared signal transduction pathways regulating VEGF with those regulating monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), which is increased in obese adipocytes, in an in vitro model of artificially hypertrophied 3T3-L1 adipocytes preloaded with palmitate, without the influence of hypoxia.


Palmitate-preloaded cells exhibited significantly enhanced oxidative stress (P < 0.01) and showed increased VEGF120 and MCP-1 release (P < 0.01, respectively), while endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress was not induced. Increased VEGF120 release was significantly decreased with PI3K inhibitor LY294002 (P < 0.01). In addition, antioxidant N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) markedly diminished not only VEGF120 secretion (P < 0.01) but also augmented Akt phosphorylation on Ser473 (P < 0.01). In contrast, increased MCP-1 release was suppressed with JNK inhibitor SP600125 and p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580 (P < 0.01).


VEGF120 release from hypertrophied adipocytes can be enhanced through PI3K pathways activated by oxidative stress but not by ER stress, suggesting that VEGF120 secretion is regulated through oxidative stress-dependent pathways distinct from those involved in MCP-1 release through either JNK or p38 MAPK activation.