Biological assays and genomic analysis reveal lipoic acid modulation of endothelial cell behavior and gene expression

Patrizia Larghero, Roberta Venè, Simona Minghelli, Giorgia Travaini, Monica Morini, Nicoletta Ferrari, Ulrich Pfeffer, Douglas M. Noonan, Adriana Albini, Roberto Benelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lipoic acid (LA) is a sulfated antioxidant produced physiologically as a coenzyme of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex; it is currently used for treatment of non-insulin-dependent diabetes to favor the cellular uptake of glucose.We have previously described the angiopreventive potential of molecules sharing common features with LA: N-acetyl cysteine, epigallocatechin-3-gallate and xanthohumol. To expand these studies, we have tested the capacity of LA to modulate angiogenesis in tumor growth using a Kaposi's sarcoma model. Endothelial cells exposed to LA displayed a dosedependent reduction of cell migration and a time-dependent modulation of the phosphorylation of key signaling molecules. In vivo, LA efficiently repressed angiogenesis in matrigel plugs and KS-Imm tumor growth. We analyzed modulation of gene expression in endothelial cells treated with LA for 5 h (early response), finding a mild anti-apoptotic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory response. A group of LA-targeted genes was selected to perform real-time polymerase chain reaction time-lapse experiments. The long-term gene regulation (48 h and 4 days) shows higher rates of modulation as compared with the array data, confirming that LA is able to switch the regulation of several genes linked to cell survival, inflammation and oxidative stress. LA induced the production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) in KS-Imm and activin-A in KS-Imm and endothelial cells; these factors show anti-angiogenic activity in vivo contributing to explain the inhibitory effect of LA on neovascularization. According to our data, LA has promising anti-angiogenic properties, though its influence on central metabolic pathways should suggest more caution about its widespread and not prescribed use at pharmacological doses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1008-1020
Number of pages13
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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