Ellagic acid inhibits PDGF-BB-induced vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and prevents atheroma formation in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats

J Nutr Biochem. 2013 Nov;24(11):1830-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2013.04.004. Epub 2013 Jul 15.


Plant-derived polyphenolic compounds have beneficial health effects. In the present study, we determined the ability of ellagic acid (EA) to prevent platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB)-induced proliferation of primary cultures of rat aortic smooth muscle cells (RASMCs). We also determined the ability of EA to prevent atherosclerosis in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Proliferation of cells was measured via Alamar Blue assay and through propidium iodide-based cell cycle analysis in flow cytometer. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) were measured via 2',7'-dichlorofluorescin diacetate and Amplex red methods. Expression of proliferation markers and activation of kinases were assessed by immunoblot analysis. Cotreatment of primary cultures of RASMCs with 25 μmol/L of EA significantly reduced PDGF-BB (20 ng/ml)-induced proliferation by blocking S-phase entry. EA effectively blocked PDGF receptor-β (PDGFR-β) tyrosine phosphorylation, generation of intracellular ROS and downstream activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2. It also blocked PDGF-BB-induced expression of cyclin D1. Computational molecular docking of EA with the PDGFR-β-PDGF-BB complex revealed two putative inhibitor binding sites which showed similar binding energies with the known PDGFR-β inhibitor AG1295. In diabetic rats, supplementation of diet with 2% EA significantly blocked diabetes-induced medial thickness, and lipid and collagen deposition in the arch of aorta. These were assessed through haematoxylin and eosin, Oil Red O and Masson's trichome staining, respectively. EA treatment also blocked cyclin D1 expression in medial smooth muscle cells in experimental animals. Thus, EA is effective in reducing atherosclerotic process by blocking proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Ellagic acid; PDGF receptor-β; PDGF-BB; RASMCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Becaplermin
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Cyclin D1 / biosynthesis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Ellagic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / drug effects
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / prevention & control*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-sis / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor beta / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Ccnd1 protein, rat
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-sis
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Cyclin D1
  • Ellagic Acid
  • Becaplermin
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor beta