Ginsenoside-Rg1 induces angiogenesis via non-genomic crosstalk of glucocorticoid receptor and fibroblast growth factor receptor-1

Author(s): Cheung LW, Leung KW, Wong CK, Wong RN, Wong AS


Aims: Ginsenoside-Rg1, the most prevalent active constituent of Panax ginseng, has been shown to possess potent pro-angiogenic properties and therefore poses special interest for the development as a novel modality for angiotherapy. Rg1 can activate the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). However, the mechanism that transmits these pro-angiogenic effects is still unclear.

Methods and results: By using human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), we show for the first time that in the presence of Rg1, GR and fibroblast growth factor receptor-1 (FGFR-1) cooperate to activate a non-genomic signalling cascade that results in angiogenic activity. The activation of FGFR-1 by Rg1 was blocked by the GR antagonist RU486. Depletion of FGFR-1 expression or inhibition of its activity using small interfering RNA and small molecule inhibitor, respectively, significantly inhibited Rg1-induced phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt phosphorylation and subsequent endothelial nitric oxide synthase activation and angiogenic tube formation, confirming that the effect was FGFR-1 specific. On exploring how GR might regulate the activation of FGFR-1, we found that GR-mediated FGFR-1 activation was ligand-independent. In addition, we have shown that FGFR-1 regulation by GR was associated with GR/FGFR-1 complex formation.

Conclusion: This study provides important new insights into the mechanism regarding the beneficial effects of Rg1 on angiogenesis. We propose that Rg1 could be a novel prototype of nutraceutical that can induce therapeutic angiogenesis.

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