Open Access
The normal cellular prion protein and its possible role in angiogenesis
Marta Turu1,Mark Slevin1,Priya Ethirajan1,Ana Luque1,AbdulBaset Elasbali1,Angels Font1,John Gaffney1,Marc Cairols1,Pat Kumar1,Shant Kumar1,Jerzy Krupinski1
Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Bellvitge, Fundacio IDIBELL, Barcelona, Spain
DOI: 10.2741/3169 Volume 13 Issue 17, pp.6491-6500
Published: 01 May 2008

Cellular Prion Protein (PrPc) is a ubiquitous glycoprotein present on the surface of endothelial cells. Resting vascular endothelial cells show minimum expression of PrPc and can constitutively release PrPc. PrPc participates in cell survival, differentiation and angiogenesis. During development, neonatal brain endothelial cells transiently express PrPc. Our group recently reported upregulation of PrPc in microvessels from ischemic brain regions in stroke patients. Ischemia/hypoxia induces PrPc expression through the activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). All these data suggest that PrPc plays an important role in angiogenic responses. In addition, PrPc participates in cellular function in the central nervous system, since PrPc is also highly expressed in neurons. PrPc binds copper, suggesting a role in copper metabolism. PrPc also protects cells against oxidative stress and it seems to be involved in neuroprotection. Several studies have demonstrated that PrPc prevents cells from apoptosis and subsequent tissue damage. Moreover, PrPc plays an important role in the immune response. Here, we review the multiple functions of PrPc with a special attention to its recently reported role in angiogenesis.

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Marta Turu, Mark Slevin, Priya Ethirajan, Ana Luque, AbdulBaset Elasbali, Angels Font, John Gaffney, Marc Cairols, Pat Kumar, Shant Kumar, Jerzy Krupinski. The normal cellular prion protein and its possible role in angiogenesis. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2008. 13(17); 6491-6500.