Radix Astragali extract promotes angiogenesis involving vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-related phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt-dependent pathway in human endothelial cells

Author(s): Zhang Y, Hu G, Lin HC, Hong SJ, Deng YH, et al.


Angiogenesis plays an important role in a wide range of physiological processes and many diseases are associated with dysregulation of angiogenesis. Radix Astragali, commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine, is a potential candidate for treating such diseases. However, the biological effects of Radix Astragali on angiogenesis and its underlying mechanisms are yet to be elucidated fully. This study describes the angiogenic effects of Radix Astragali extract (RAE) on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) in vitro. It was shown that RAE treatment stimulated HUVEC to proliferate. A significant increase in migration was observed in RAE-treated HUVEC using the wound healing migration assay. In addition, a significant increase in the number of branching points was observed during endothelial cell capillary formation after RAE treatment. It was shown that RAE enhances vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) mRNA expression, and that a specific blocker of VEGF receptor 2 (KDR/Flk) inhibited the RAE-induced HUVEC proliferation. In addition, a decrease in the RAE-induced HUVEC proliferation was observed after treatment with inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), Akt and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). Taken together, these data suggest that RAE is a potent stimulator of angiogenesis and that its pro-angiogenic effects involve the VEGF-KDR/Flk and PI3K-Akt-eNOS pathways.

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