Modulation of human endothelial cell proliferation and migration by fucoidan and heparin

Eur J Cell Biol. 1998 Dec;77(4):352-9. doi: 10.1016/S0171-9335(98)80094-0.


Fucoidan is a sulfated polysaccharide extracted from brown seaweeds. It has anticoagulant and antithrombotic properties and inhibits, as well as heparin, vascular smooth muscle cell growth. In this study, we investigated, in the presence of serum and human recombinant growth factors, the effects of fucoidan and heparin on the growth and migration of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) in culture. We found that fucoidan stimulated fetal bovine serum-induced HUVEC proliferation, whereas heparin inhibited it. In the presence of fibroblast growth factor-1 (FGF-1), both fucoidan and heparin potentiated HUVEC growth. In contrast, fucoidan and heparin inhibited HUVEC proliferation induced by FGF-2, but did not influence the mitogenic activity of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). In the in vitro migration assay from a denuded area of confluent cells, the two sulfated polysaccharides markedly enhanced the migration of endothelial cells in the presence of FGF-1. Finally, a weak inhibitory effect on cell migration was found only with the two polysaccharides at high concentrations (> or = 100 micro/ml) in presence of serum or combined with FGF-2. All together, the results indicated that heparin and fucoidan can be used as tools to further investigate the cellular mechanisms regulating the proliferation and migration of human vascular cells. Moreover, the data already suggest a potential role of fucoidan as a new therapeutic agent of vegetal origin in the vascular endothelium wound repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / drug effects*
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / pharmacology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 1
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / pharmacology
  • Heparin / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphokines / pharmacology
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Sulfuric Acid Esters / pharmacology*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors


  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Lymphokines
  • Polysaccharides
  • Sulfuric Acid Esters
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 1
  • Heparin
  • fucoidan