Danshensu accelerates angiogenesis after myocardial infarction in rats and promotes the functions of endothelial progenitor cells through SDF-1α/CXCR4 axis

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The present study was performed to investigate the potential role of Danshensu in therapeutic angiogenesis in ischemic myocardium and endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) function. The rat model of myocardial infarction (MI) injury was induced by left anterior descending coronary artery ligation for 14 days. Danshensu significantly alleviated myocardial ischemia injury by ameliorating left ventricular function and reducing infarct size. Furthermore, Danshensu potentiated post-ischemia neovascularization as evidenced by increased microvessel density in infarction boundary zone, as well as the expression of marker proteins vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). Moreover, Danshensu notably promoted stromal cell-derived factor-1α (SDF-1α) level in plasma and C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4) expression in peri-infarction myocardium, and AMD3100 (CXCR4 antagonist) could reverse the angiogenic and cardioprotective effects of Danshensu. For in vitro study, EPCs were isolated from bone marrow of rats. On the one hand, Danshensu provided significant cytoprotection against hypoxia insult by boosting EPCs viability and inhibiting apoptosis, and upregulated Akt phosphorylation. On the other hand, Danshensu enhanced proangiogenic functions of EPCs on cell migration and tube formation, and increased SDF-1α and CXCR4 expression. Likewise, the cytoprotection and proangiogenic functions of Danshensu on EPCs were partly negated by LY294002 (PI3K antagonist) and CXCR4 siRNA, respectively. Taken together, our results suggested that the cardioprotection of Danshensu in MI rats may be related to promoting myocardial neovascularization. The possible mechanisms may involve improving EPCs survival in hypoxia condition through Akt phosphorylation, and accelerating EPCs proangiogenic functions through SDF-1α/CXCR4 axis.

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