Plant Compounds May Help Prevent New Blood Vessel Growth in Lab Models of Cancer

Jim Crocker
5th June, 2024

Plant Compounds May Help Prevent New Blood Vessel Growth in Lab Models of Cancer

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Tulane University found that Naringenin (Nar) from grapefruit and Glyceollins (Gly) from soybeans can inhibit the formation of new blood vessels without killing endothelial cells
  • Glyceollins were more effective in female models, suggesting biological sex may influence the effectiveness of these phytochemicals
  • Nar and Gly did not affect the viability or gene expression of triple-negative breast cancer cells, indicating their effects are specific to endothelial cells
Xenohormesis is a concept suggesting that phytochemicals produced by plants to counteract stressors can have biochemical effects in animal cells, even in the absence of specific receptors. A recent study by researchers at Tulane University has explored the effects of two such phytochemicals, Naringenin (Nar) from grapefruit and Glyceollins (Gly) from soybeans, on human microphysiological models of vasculogenesis and tumor angiogenesis[1]. Vasculogenesis refers to the formation of new blood vessels, a process crucial for both normal tissue growth and the progression of diseases like cancer. Tumor angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels within tumors, is particularly significant because it enables tumor growth and metastasis. The study found that Nar and Gly have potent inhibitory effects on these processes without being cytotoxic to endothelial cells, the cells lining blood vessels, or preventing them from entering the cell cycle. This means that while these compounds can hinder the formation of new blood vessels, they do not kill the cells or hinder their ability to divide and grow. Interestingly, the anti-vasculogenic effects of Glyceollin were significantly more potent in sex-matched female (XX) models. This suggests that biological sex may play a role in the effectiveness of these phytochemicals, which could have implications for personalized nutrition and treatment strategies. The study also examined the effects of Nar and Gly on triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cell spheroids. TNBC is a particularly aggressive and difficult-to-treat form of breast cancer. The researchers found that Nar and Gly did not decrease the viability or expression of proangiogenic genes in these cancer cells, suggesting that the inhibition of sprouting angiogenesis in the TNBC microenvironment is mediated through direct effects on endothelial cells rather than the cancer cells themselves. These findings build on prior research into the role of oxidative stress (OS) in cardiac fibrosis and the potential for epigenetic modifications to manage this condition[2]. OS is a state where there is an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the body's ability to detoxify these harmful compounds. This imbalance can lead to inflammation, hypertrophy (enlargement of an organ), and fibrosis (thickening and scarring of connective tissue). Epigenetic modifications, which are changes in gene expression without altering the DNA sequence, have been proposed as a way to manage OS-induced cardiac fibrosis. The current study's investigation into the effects of Nar and Gly on endothelial cells could provide new insights into how these phytochemicals might also influence oxidative stress pathways. The study also ties into research on the nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), a transcription factor that regulates the body's antioxidant response[3]. Nrf2 controls the expression of genes involved in detoxification and antioxidant defense, making it a crucial player in the body's response to oxidative stress. Understanding how Nar and Gly interact with endothelial cells could provide new avenues for modulating Nrf2 activity, potentially leading to new treatments for diseases characterized by oxidative stress and inflammation. Moreover, the concept of hormesis, which suggests that small quantities of certain substances can have beneficial effects while larger quantities are harmful, is relevant here[4]. The study's findings that Nar and Gly can inhibit vasculogenesis without being cytotoxic align with the principles of hormesis. This could have significant implications for nutritional guidelines and the development of dietary supplements containing these phytochemicals. Lastly, the study's focus on phytochemicals like Nar and Gly complements existing research on green tea catechins, which have also been shown to modulate oxidative stress and epigenetic alterations[5]. Both sets of phytochemicals demonstrate the potential for plant-derived compounds to influence human health in multifaceted ways, from inhibiting cancer progression to modulating oxidative stress and epigenetic changes. In summary, the study by Tulane University researchers highlights the potential of Naringenin and Glyceollins as health-promoting agents with specific effects on vascular endothelial cells. These findings open up new avenues for research into the mechanisms of action of these phytochemicals and their potential applications in personalized nutrition and pharmacology. The role of biological sex in the effectiveness of these compounds also warrants further investigation, as it could lead to more tailored and effective treatment strategies.



Main Study

1) Xenohormetic Phytochemicals Inhibit Neovascularization in Microphysiological Models of Vasculogenesis and Tumor Angiogenesis.

Published 4th June, 2024

Related Studies

2) Crosstalk between oxidative stress and epigenetic marks: New roles and therapeutic implications in cardiac fibrosis.

3) Transcriptional Regulation by Nrf2.

4) Nutritional hormesis.

Journal: European journal of clinical nutrition, Issue: Vol 61, Issue 2, Feb 2007

5) The Effects of Green Tea Catechins in Hematological Malignancies.

Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙