Vitamins C and E downregulate vascular VEGF and VEGFR-2 expression in apolipoprotein-E-deficient mice
Nespereira B, Pérez-Ilzarbe M, Fernández P, Fuentes AM, Páramo JA, Rodríguez JA.
Anti-angiogenic therapy reduces both plaque growth and intimal neovascularization in apolipoprotein-E-deficient mice (apoE-/-).
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been suggested as playing a role in the development of atherosclerosis. We examined the hypothesis that VEGF and VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) expression is upregulated in apoE-/- and, since it could be driven by oxidative stress, tested whether dietary supplementation with vitamins C and E could downregulate it.Two-month-old apoE-/- received vitamin C combined with alpha- or beta-tocopherol for 4 weeks.
Aortic VEGF and VEGFR-2 expression were measured by RT-qPCR and western blot.ApoE-/- showed significantly higher expression of aortic VEGF and VEGFR-2 mRNA (P<0.001) and protein (P<0.001) than wild-type mice, as well as increased plasma VEGF (P<0.001). Vitamin C and alpha-tocopherol significantly reduced aortic VEGF and VEGFR-2 expression in apoE-/- (P<0.001), circulating VEGF (P<0.01) and plasma lipid peroxidation (P<0.01). apoE-/- receiving vitamin C and beta-tocopherol showed diminished lipid peroxidation and VEGFR-2, but only partial reduction of VEGF expression.
These data demonstrate that augmented VEGF and VEGFR-2 expression in apoE-/- vasculature can be downregulated by vitamins C and E, at least partially through oxidative stress reduction. This novel mechanism could contribute to explaining the beneficial effects of antioxidant vitamins in experimental atherosclerosis.