Fasudil inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor-induced angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo

Limei Yin, Ken-Ichirou Morishige, Toshifumi Takahashi, Kae Hashimoto, Seiji Ogata, Seiji Tsutsumi, Keiko Takata, Tsuyoshi Ohta, Jun Kawagoe, Kazuhiro Takahashi, Hirohisa Kurachi
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 2007, 6 (5): 1517-25
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced endothelial cell migration is an important component of tumor angiogenesis. Rho and Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) are key regulators of focal adhesion, stress fiber formation, and thus cell motility. Inhibitors of this pathway have been shown to inhibit endothelial cell motility and angiogenesis. In this study, we investigated the antiangiogenic effect of fasudil, one of the ROCK inhibitors. Fasudil inhibited VEGF-induced endothelial cell migration, viability, and tube formation in vitro in human umbilical vein endothelial cells. VEGF-induced endothelial cell migration was reduced by fasudil associated with loss of stress fiber formation, focal adhesion assembly, and with the suppression of tyrosine phosphorylation of focal adhesion proteins. Furthermore, fasudil inhibited VEGF-induced phosphorylation of myosin light chain, which is one of the main substrates of ROCK. Therefore, the effect of fasudil was suggested to be ROCK dependent. Fasudil not only inhibited VEGF-induced cell proliferation but also reversed the protective effect of VEGF on apoptosis, which resulted in the decrease of cell viability. Moreover, fasudil inhibited VEGF-induced angiogenesis in a directed in vivo angiogenesis assay. These data are the first demonstration that fasudil has antiangiogenic properties. Therefore, fasudil might be useful for the treatment of angiogenesis-related diseases, especially cancer.

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