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PLoS One. 2013 Nov 20;8(11):e79823. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079823. eCollection 2013.

Anthocyanin-rich purple corn extract inhibit diabetes-associated glomerular angiogenesis.

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Department of Food and Nutrition and Center for Aging and Healthcare, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Korea.


Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is one of the major diabetic complications and the leading cause of end-stage renal disease. Abnormal angiogenesis results in new vessels that are often immature and play a pathological role in DN, contributing to renal fibrosis and disrupting glomerular failure. Purple corn has been utilized as a daily food and exerts disease-preventive activities. This study was designed to investigate whether anthocyanin-rich purple corn extract (PCE) prevented glomerular angiogenesis under hyperglycemic conditions. Human endothelial cells were cultured in conditioned media of mesangial cells exposed to 33 mM high glucose (HG-HRMC-CM). PCE decreased endothelial expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1α induced by HG-HRMC-CM. Additionally, PCE attenuated the induction of the endothelial marker of platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM)-1 and integrin β3 enhanced in HG-HRMC-CM. Endothelial tube formation promoted by HG-HRMC-CM was disrupted in the presence of PCE. In the in vivo study employing db/db mice treated with 10 mg/kg PCE for 8 weeks, PCE alleviated glomerular angiogenesis of diabetic kidneys by attenuating the induction of VEGF and HIF-1α. Oral administration of PCE retarded the endothelial proliferation in db/db mouse kidneys, evidenced by its inhibition of the induction of vascular endothelium-cadherin, PECAM-1 and Ki-67. PCE diminished the mesangial and endothelial induction of angiopoietin (Angpt) proteins under hypeglycemic conditions. The induction and activation of VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) were dampened by treating PCE to db/db mice. These results demonstrate that PCE antagonized glomerular angiogenesis due to chronic hyperglycemia and diabetes through disturbing the Angpt-Tie-2 ligand-receptor system linked to renal VEGFR2 signaling pathway. Therefore, PCE may be a potent therapeutic agent targeting abnormal angiogenesis in DN leading to kidney failure.

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