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J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Jan 21;121(2):313-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2008.11.008. Epub 2008 Nov 17.

Anti-angiogenic effects of rhubarb and its anthraquinone derivatives.

Author information

1
Food and Drug Authentication Laboratory, Department of Biology and Institute of Chinese Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong, PR China.

Abstract

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE:

Rhubarb root (Dahuang) is often included as an ingredient in traditional Chinese compound prescriptions for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. This application may possibly be mediated through anti-angiogensis and thus would shed light on its potential value in cancer therapy.

AIM OF THE STUDY:

To elucidate the anti-angiogenic properties of rhubarb root, we tested the inhibitory effects of different fractions and a series of anthraquinone derivatives against vessel formation in zebrafish embryos.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

The 95% ethanol extract and four subsequent fractions (n-hexane, ethyl acetate, n-butanol and aqueous fractions) of rhubarb root and five anthraquinone derivatives were investigated on zebrafish model by quantitative endogenous alkaline phosphatase assay and staining assay.

RESULTS:

Ethyl acetate fraction showed the strongest inhibition of vessel formation by 52%. Three anthraquinones (aloe-emodin, emodin and rhein) displayed potent anti-angiogenic activities.

CONCLUSIONS:

The angiogenic properties of rhubarb root may partly account for its use in inflammatory diseases. The anthraquinones with acidic or polar, hydrophilic substitution at C-6 or C-3 positions played a substantial role in inhibiting angiogenesis. The value of the zebrafish angiogenic model is further supported.

PMID:
19061946
DOI:
10.1016/j.jep.2008.11.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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