Cardiovascular diseases, followed by strokes, represent the leading cause of mortality worldwide. Despite its success in preventing cardiovascular diseases, the therapeutic potential of 3-Hydroxytyrosol (HT) for treating ischemic diseases is yet to be investigated in detail, especially with regard to ischemic heart disease, which is a major challenge for humans. We assessed that low concentrations (1–5 µM) of HT, generally achieved after the ingestion of olive oil, stimulate endothelial cells migration and angiogenesis in an in vitro model. At early time points (1–6 h), HT induces the expression of different proteins such as proto-oncogene tyrosine-protein kinase Src (Src), rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK) and matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) protein influencing cell adhesion, cytoskeletal dynamics and cell migration. We observed that at the same time, HT induces prominent vascular formation in the tube formation assay, accompanied by an increase in the expression of the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGF-R2) and PI3K-Akt-eNOS protein pathways, which are recognized for their central role in angiogenesis. Therefore, in addition to the proven capability of HT to regulate reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, through both direct scavenging properties and indirect antioxidant efficacy, our results revealed that HT promotes angiogenesis, arguing in favor of great pharma-nutritional potential in ischemic injuries.
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