Momordica charantia extracts protect against inhibition of endothelial angiogenesis by advanced glycation endproducts in vitro
Diabetes mellitus characterized by hyperglycemia favors formation of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) capable of triggering vascular complications by interfering with imbalanced inflammation and angiogenesis to eventually impede wound-healing. Momordica charantia (MC, bitter melon) has been shown to prevent AGE formation and to promote angiogenesis in diabetic wounds in animal models. However, the mechanism underlying its effects on angiogenesis is unclear. We investigated the effects of methanolic extracts of MC pulp (MCP), flesh (MCF) and charantin (active component of MC) using an in vitro model of angiogenesis. MC extracts or low concentrations of bovine serum albumin-derived AGEs (BSA-AGEs) stimulated proliferation, migration (using wound-healing assay) and tube formation (using Matrigel™-embedded 3D culture) of bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAEC) together with increases in the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2, the key angiogenic signaling cytoplasmic protein. Blocking the receptor for AGEs (RAGE) inhibited low BSA-AGE- and MC extract-induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation and tube formation, indicating the crucial role of RAGE in the pro-angiogenic effects of MC extracts. Moreover, inhibitory effects of high BSA-AGE concentration on cell proliferation and migration were reduced by the addition of MC extracts, which reversed the BSA-AGE anti-angiogenic effect on tube formation. Thus, MC extracts exert direct pro-angiogenic signaling mediated via RAGE to overcome the anti-angiogenic effects of high BSA-AGEs, highlighting the biphasic RAGE-dependent mechanisms involved. This study enhances our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the pro-angiogenic effects of MC extracts in improvement of diabetes-impaired wound-healing.