Study of a Plant Compound's Role in Promoting Blood Vessel Growth

Greg Howard
23rd May, 2024

Study of a Plant Compound's Role in Promoting Blood Vessel Growth

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers from the University of Macau and Hong Kong Polytechnic University found that polysaccharides from the mushroom Amauroderma rugosum can help form new blood vessels
  • Among the four polysaccharide fractions tested, the third fraction (PAR-3) showed the strongest ability to promote blood vessel growth in zebrafish with induced vascular issues
  • PAR-3 also stimulated human endothelial cells to grow, move, and form new blood vessels, suggesting its potential for treating vascular problems and aiding wound healing
Amauroderma rugosum (AR), commonly known as "Blood Lingzhi" in Chinese, is a mushroom from the Ganodermataceae family. Recent research conducted by the University of Macau and Hong Kong Polytechnic University has revealed that polysaccharides extracted from AR have significant potential in promoting angiogenesis, the process of forming new blood vessels[1]. This discovery is particularly relevant in the context of treating vascular insufficiencies and wound healing. The study systematically isolated and purified four polysaccharide fractions from AR. These fractions were then analyzed using various techniques such as high-performance gel permeation chromatography (HPGPC), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), and 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to determine their compositions. To evaluate their proangiogenic activities, the researchers used a zebrafish model, which is a common model organism in biomedical research due to its transparent embryos and rapid development. The zebrafish were treated with a VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor II (VRI) to induce vascular insufficiency. Among the four polysaccharide fractions, the third fraction (PAR-3) demonstrated the most pronounced proangiogenic effects. PAR-3 effectively ameliorated the VRI-induced intersegmental vessel deficiency in the zebrafish. Additionally, the mRNA expression levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A and VEGF receptors were upregulated by PAR-3, indicating its potential to enhance angiogenesis at the molecular level. The proangiogenic properties of PAR-3 were further validated through experiments on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). PAR-3 was found to stimulate the proliferation, migration, invasion, and tube formation of these cells. These activities are crucial for angiogenesis, as they allow endothelial cells to form new blood vessels. The underlying mechanisms were proposed to involve the activation of key signaling pathways, including Akt, ERK1/2, p38 MAPK, and FAK. This study builds on previous research that has explored various compounds and their effects on angiogenesis. For instance, a study on Spatholobi Caulis, a traditional Chinese medicine, demonstrated its proangiogenic activity by increasing the expression of VEGF receptors and activating MAPKs in zebrafish and HUVECs[2]. Similarly, research on South African medicinal plants used for wound healing found that certain plant extracts exhibited proangiogenic activity in zebrafish and stimulated cellular proliferation in human fibroblasts[3]. These findings are consistent with the current study, which also used zebrafish and HUVECs to evaluate the proangiogenic effects of natural compounds. Moreover, the current study's findings align with earlier research on the impact of copper (Cu2+) stress on angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. Excessive Cu2+ was found to impair these processes by down-regulating specific molecular pathways in zebrafish and mammalian cells[4]. In contrast, the polysaccharides from AR, particularly PAR-3, demonstrated a positive effect on angiogenesis, highlighting the potential of natural compounds in therapeutic applications. In conclusion, the research conducted by the University of Macau and Hong Kong Polytechnic University establishes that PAR-3 isolated from Amauroderma rugosum exhibits significant proangiogenic properties. By upregulating VEGF-A and VEGF receptors and activating key signaling pathways, PAR-3 promotes the formation of new blood vessels. This study not only adds to the growing body of evidence supporting the use of natural compounds in promoting angiogenesis but also opens up new possibilities for developing bioresources for treating vascular insufficiencies and enhancing wound healing.



Main Study

1) Characterization of a polysaccharide from Amauroderma rugosum and its proangiogenic activities in vitro and in vivo.

Published 20th May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Spatholobi Caulis extracts promote angiogenesis in HUVECs in vitro and in zebrafish embryos in vivo via up-regulation of VEGFRs.

3) Evaluation of the wound healing properties of South African medicinal plants using zebrafish and in vitro bioassays.

4) Copper stress impairs angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis during zebrafish embryogenesis by down-regulating pERK1/2-foxm1-MMP2/9 axis and epigenetically regulating ccbe1 expression.

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