Icariin stimulates angiogenesis by activating the MEK/ERK- and PI3K/Akt/eNOS-dependent signal pathways in human endothelial cells.. Byung-Hee Chung; Jong-Dai Kim; Chun-Ki Kim; Jung Huan Kim; Moo-Ho Won; Han-Soo Lee; Mi-Sook Dong; Kwon-Soo Ha; Young-Geun Kwon; Young-Myeong Kim (2008) Biochemical and biophysical research communications display abstract
We investigated the molecular effect and signal pathway of icariin, a major flavonoid of Epimedium koreanum Nakai, on angiogenesis. Icariin stimulated in vitro endothelial cell proliferation, migration, and tubulogenesis, which are typical phenomena of angiogenesis, as well as increased in vivo angiogenesis. Icariin activated the angiogenic signal modulators, ERK, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), Akt, and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), and increased NO production, without affecting VEGF expression, indicating that icariin may directly stimulate angiogenesis. Icariin-induced ERK activation and angiogenic events were significantly inhibited by the MEK inhibitor PD98059, without affecting Akt and eNOS phosphorylation. The PI3K inhibitor Wortmannin suppressed icariin-mediated angiogenesis and Akt and eNOS activation without affecting ERK phosphorylation. Moreover, the NOS inhibitor NMA partially reduced the angiogenic activity of icariin. These results suggest that icariin stimulated angiogenesis by activating the MEK/ERK- and PI3K/Akt/eNOS-dependent signal pathways and may be a useful drug for angiogenic therapy.