Paradoxical effects of hypoxia-mimicking divalent cobalt ions in human endothelial cells in vitro

Kirsten Peters, Harald Schmidt, Ronald E. Unger, Günter Kamp, Felicitas Pröls, Bernhard J. Berger, C. James Kirkpatrick

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53 Scopus citations


Divalent cobalt ions (Co2+) induce the expression of hypoxia responsive genes and are often used in cell biology to mimic hypoxia. In this in vitro Co2+ on human endothelial cells and examined processes that are stimulated in hypoxia in vivo (proliferation and angiogenesis). We analyzed the expression of the hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) under different hypoxic conditions (3% and nearly 0% O2) and Co2+-concentrations (0.01-0.7 mM). As in hypoxia, the amount of HIF-1α protein was enhanced by exposure to Co2+ (did not correlate with mRNA amount). However, contrary to the results of hypoxia, in vitro-angiogenesis was inhibited after exposure to even low Co2+-concentrations (≥0.01 mM). This led to the conclusion that although hypoxia signaling after Co2+-exposure took place, further yet unknown Co2+-induced event(s) must have occurred.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-166
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) Priority Program “Biosystem”. We want to thank Susanne Barth, Sabine Aust, and Anne Sartoris for their excellent technical assistance and the Knoll AG, Ludwigshafen (Germany) for the generous gift of ArvinTM.


  • Angiogenesis
  • Cobalt
  • Endothelial cells
  • Hypoxia
  • Hypoxia inducible factor-17α
  • in vitro


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