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J Reprod Dev. 2007 Jun;53(3):573-9. Epub 2007 Feb 19.

The plant alkaloid sanguinarine is a potential inhibitor of follicular angiogenesis.

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Department of Animal Production, Veterinary Biotechnology, Food Safety and Quality-Veterinary Physiology, University of Parma, Italy.


Sanguinarine (SA), a phytobiotic from Sanguinaria Canadensis, has been demonstrated to inhibit vessel growth. Current restrictions on the use of antibiotic growth promoters have motivated addition of this alkaloid as a naturally appetizing feed additive for farm animals. However, concern may araise since angiogenesis is a fundamental event in ovarian follicle growth. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the potential negative role of SA in follicular angiogenesis. For this purpose, we studied the effect of 300 nM SA on the production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) by swine granulosa cells from follicles >5 mm and on the activation of Akt, the main effector of the VEGF signalling pathway. In addition, the potential interference of SA in vessel development was tested in an in vitro angiogenesis bioassay. SA inhibited both VEGF production and VEGF-induced Akt activation in swine granulosa cells. Moreover, it was able to block vessel growth induced by VEGF. Taken together, our results suggest that SA could be detrimental to follicular angiogenesis, and therefore supplementation of feed with this alkaloid should be carefully considered.

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