Background: Vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) migration is integral in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Sumac (Rhus coriaria) berries are believed to have atheroprotective effects. Therefore, Sumac, which is a rich source of tannin antioxidants, was tested for its capacity to inhibit VSMC migratory activity.
Materials & methods: Tannin was extracted and purified from ground Sumac. Cultured rat carotid VSMCs were treated with different concentrations of tannin. After 10 days of tannin treatment, VSMC migratory activity in response to platelet-derived growth factor-BB was measured by transmembrane migration assay. An equal number of VSMCs was loaded on top of the inserts and at the bottom of the wells. After fixation and staining, cells migrating through the inserts and cells seeded at the bottom of the wells were counted.
Results: A significant reduction (62%) of VSMC migration was evident in tannin-treated cells. To rule out any possible toxicity and cell death, cells at the bottom of the wells were also counted. No difference between the tannin-treated group and the controls was observed in the number of cells seeded at the bottom of the wells.
Conclusion: Our data suggest that tannin extracted from Sumac possesses potent antimigratory activity. Sumac may have potential for the prevention or treatment of atherosclerosis and its clinical manifestations. Further experiments, especially in vivo, are required to examine the atheroprotective effect of Sumac.
Keywords: Sumac; atherosclerosis; migration; tannin; vascular smooth muscle cell.